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[387a]

Socrates
Then actions also are performed according to their own nature, not according to our opinion. For instance, if we undertake to cut anything, ought we to cut it as we wish, and with whatever instrument we wish, or shall we, if we are willing to cut each thing in accordance with the nature of cutting and being cut, and with the natural instrument, succeed in cutting it, and do it rightly, whereas if we try to do it contrary to nature we shall fail and accomplish nothing? [387b]

Hermogenes
I think the way is as you suggest.

Socrates
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?

Hermogenes
True.

Socrates
And all other actions are to be performed In like manner?

Hermogenes
Certainly.

Socrates
And speaking is an action, is it not?

Hermogenes
Yes.

Socrates
Then if a man speaks as he fancies he ought to speak, [387c] will he speak rightly, or will he succeed in speaking if he speaks in the way and with the instrument in which and with which it is natural for us to speak and for things to be spoken, whereas otherwise he will fail and accomplish nothing?

Hermogenes
I think the way you suggest is the right one.

Socrates
Now naming is a part of speaking, for in naming I suppose people utter speech.

Hermogenes
Certainly.

Socrates
Then is not naming also a kind of action, if speaking is a kind of action concerned with things?

Hermogenes
Yes. [387d]

Socrates
But we saw that actions are not merely relative to us, but possess a separate nature of their own?

Hermogenes
True.

Socrates
Then in naming also, if we are to be consistent with our previous conclusions, we cannot follow our own will, but the way and the instrument which the nature of things prescribes must be employed, must they not? And if we pursue this course we shall be successful in our naming, but otherwise we shall fail.

Hermogenes
I think you are right.

Socrates
And again, what has to be cut, we said, has to be cut with something.

Hermogenes
Certainly. [387e]

Socrates
And what has to be woven, has to be woven with something, and what has to be bored, has to be bored with something?

Hermogenes
Certainly.

Socrates
And then what has to be named, has to be named with something?


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