Dialogue(s): cratylus Sections: 383a-390e Working from which text/translations: Loeb (Primary), Thomas Taylor & Jowett (Secondary)
~4:00 min - Reading starts – 383a
~18 min – 386e - What 'the realm' of the discussion is? When we pursued the Parmenides we talked about what things were, and, in this dialogue, when they talk about things, they do initially talk about things (i.e. men, horse etc.) but also virtue, good men, bad men, I wondered if therefore this is a similar dialogue, insofar as its not meant to refer to common things? Fixed Ousia of their own? A fixed Ousia by Nature? Nature an order arranging/informing intelligence behind it? Is there a way of understanding Ousia with names? “Imposed by nature, means, something outside of Ousia, the higher shaping the lower” Is that appropriate? Perhaps if said 'according' to nature. Having Ousia it has a certain 'being by nature' because it holds or endures in Ousia, this, and a certain intelligence follows upon it. Turns back on it, proceeds from it – So the Ousia would be higher than nature? – Pierre reflects 'no'.
~32:30 min - Pierre suggests to read a couple more paragraphs - 386e continues
387b – Pierre – That argument runs all throughout classic literature, its the model of the Zen butcher, cutting the chicken, only had to sharpen his knife once, and he knew exactly where to put the knife, and at the end of the day, its just a sharp as it started out, knew exactly where to put the knife, what pressure, what line, never gets dull in the cutting. So he was the master of it – see its the same problem as making distinctions (chopping lines), that’s the dialectician, that’s the natural way of making distinctions where you are following the nature, can you create a vocabulary, would you do it arbitrarily or would you follow nature? Where would you make the cut / distinction? If we are willing to cut each thing in accordance with the nature of cutting, how do I know / can use that instrument of cutting, and being cut, and with a natural instinct appropriate to the purpose. This can be seen as a 'controlling metaphor'.
READING OF THOMAS TAYLOR TRANSLATION OF '387' PARAGRAPH
387b - Then, too, if we undertake to burn anything, we must burn not according to every opinion, but according to the right one? And that is as each thing naturally burns or is burned and with the natural instrument?
Pierre- Well, is burning/burned being cut? Going back to the butcher, if we are willing to cut each thing in accordance with the nature of cutting, what kind of distinction is that? There are 3 distinctions there, lets drop out 'being cut' and that there’s only two. What do we lose by that then lets drop out any one of the other of the two and see what we gain or lose by that – the easy one is instrument, the thing falls apart without the idea of instrument.
So cutter, instruments, something being cut if we are willing to cut each thing in accordance with the nature of cutting something being cut - redundant to put the 'something', we don't need it. The nature of cutting is an intelligence, being cut is the action and action force – the instrument is particular for the object. All of this “structure” will be used when we get to 'names'. Essence and function and the thing itself. Anatomy studies the organs, the master cutter is going to try to discover where the division, focus on the problem of division, where the least amount of force can be maintained, hence least effort, least amount of force on blade, least amount of friction.
~57mins - Pierre reads the same paragraph from the Jowett translation 387c - “And will a man speak correctly who speaks as he pleases? Will not the successful speaker rather be he who speaks in the natural way of speaking, and as things ought to be spoken, and with the natural instrument? Any other mode of speaking will result in error and failure.”
How can you differentiate between a man speaking as he pleases as opposed to the natural way of speaking. Would not speaking as you please be a natural way of speaking? The question he raised on that is how are they using the word nature and natural?
He's opposing it to every man's opinion, so whatever naturally is, its not what every man is speaking of his own way, as he wishes - more like every man speaking as he wishes as he opines it to be appropriate, what in his opinion is appropriate. Whereas one of the elements of what were doing is that he's saying its different than that, there's a right natural way which leads one to make or do an action correctly; that would be like following natural distinction using the image of the butcher.
387d - 388c - Discussion concerning the nature of the shuttle weaving, separating and Ousia.
389a - Pierre is remarking that “He is making the law giver the name maker” – they are one the same. What would it take to create a new name?
389c - Discussion of the nature of instruments according to their natural functions and materials. Comparison of the Jowett translation concerning 389c. Seeing the idea and then seeing the same part in the various kind of motifs it made – i.e. through adaptation.
389d - 390d - Pierre remarks that this is a clear example, and captures it succinctly.
390e - END
[Thanks to BillD for videotaping, and NickZ for title, stephanus pages, and above notes.]