Defense Date

4-6-2010

Graduation Date

2010

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Philosophy

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Ronald Polansky

Committee Member

Patrick Miller

Committee Member

L. Michael Harrington

Keywords

conventionalism, cratylus, language, naturalism, philosophy, Plato

Abstract

In the last century, philosophers turned their attention to language. One place they have looked for clues about its nature is Plato's Cratylus, which considers whether names are naturally or conventionally correct. The dialogue is a source of annoyance to many commentators because it does not take a clear position on the central question. At times, it argues that language is conventional, and, at other times, defends the view that language is natural. This lack of commitment has led to a long-standing dispute over the outcome of the dialogue. I argue that the Cratylus provides no clear resolution to this problem because it presupposes certain unexamined metaphysical commitments about the nature of reality, which are in need of thorough investigation.

Format

PDF

Language

English

Share

COinS