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[384a] and am exerting myself to find out what in the world he means, he does not explain himself at all; he meets me with dissimulation, claiming to have some special knowledge of his own about it which would, if he chose to speak it out clearly, make me agree entirely with him. Now if you could interpret Cratylus's oracular speech, I should like to hear you; or rather, I should like still better to hear, if you please, what you yourself think about the correctness of names.

Hermogenes, son of Hipponicus, there is an ancient saying [384b] that knowledge of high things is hard to gain; and surely knowledge of names is no small matter. Now if I had attended Prodicus's fifty-drachma course of lectures, after which, as he himself says, a man has a complete education on this subject, there would be nothing to hinder your learning the truth about the correctness of names at once; but I have heard only the one-drachma course, [384c] and so I do not know what the truth is about such matters. However, I am ready to join you and Cratylus in looking for it. But as for his saying that Hermogenes is not truly your name, I suspect he is making fun of you; for perhaps he thinks that you want to make money and fail every time. But, as I said, it is difficult to know such things. We must join forces and try to find out whether you are right, or Cratylus.

For my part, Socrates, I have often talked with Cratylus and many others, [384d] and cannot come to the conclusion that there is any correctness of names other than convention and agreement. For it seems to me that whatever name you give to a thing is its right name; and if you give up that name and change it for another, the later name is no less correct than the earlier, just as we change the names of our servants; for I think no name belongs to any particular thing by nature, but only by the habit and custom of those who employ it and who established the usage. [384e] But if this is not the case, I am ready to hear and to learn from Cratylus or anyone else.

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