Plato's Cratylus

Plato's Cratylus : The Comedy of Language

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Plato's dialogue Cratylus focuses on being and human dependence on words, or the essential truths about the human condition. Arguing that comedy is an essential part of Plato's concept of language, S. Montgomery Ewegen asserts that understanding the comedic is key to an understanding of Plato's deeper philosophical intentions. Ewegen shows how Plato's view of language is bound to comedy through words and how, for Plato, philosophy has much in common with playfulness and the ridiculous. By tying words, language, and our often uneasy relationship with them to comedy, Ewegen frames a new reading of this notable Platonic dialogue.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 17.53mm | 553g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253010446
  • 9780253010445
  • 1,530,610

Table of contents

1. First Words
2. Marking the Limits
3. A Question of Inheritance
4. The Nature of Nature
5. Technological Language
6. A Homeric Inheritance
7. What Words Will
8. The Tragedy of Cratylus
Conclusion: The Comedy of the Cratylus
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Review quote

Ewegen's monograph is a stimulating examination of an understudied issue. The project is an essential one, and Ewegen is good in demonstrating how the comic/tragic dichotomy can contribute to a deeper understanding of other tensions within the text. More studies like these are needed: studies that make use of philosophical debate in order to contribute to a broader philological understanding of Platonic dialogue. * Bryn Mawr Classical Review *
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About S. Montgomery Ewegen

S. Montgomery Ewegen is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College.
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