Cratyle. 430.e

Socrate :
Le Nom, comme la Peinture,
est une Imitation

The Name, like the Picture, is an Imitation
Socrates: And would you further acknowledge that the name is an imitation of the thing?
Cratylus: Certainly.
Socrates: And you would say that pictures are also imitations of things, but in another way?
Cratylus: Yes.
Socrates: I believe you may be right, but I do not rightly understand you. Please to say, then, whether both sorts of imitation (I mean both pictures or words) are not equally attributable and applicable to the things of which they are the imitation.
Cratylus: They are.
Socrates: First look at the matter thus: you may attribute the likeness of the man to the man, and of the woman to the woman; and so on?
Cratylus: Certainly.
Socrates: And conversely you may attribute the likeness of the man to the woman, and of the woman to the man?
Cratylus: Very true.
Socrates: And are both modes of assigning them right, or only the first?
Cratylus: Only the first.
Socrates: That is to say, the mode of assignment which attributes to each that which belongs to them and is like them?
Cratylus: That is my view.
Socrates: Now then, as I am desirous that we being friends should have a good understanding about the argument, let me state my view to you: the first mode of assignment, whether applied to figures or to names, I call right, and when applied to names only, true as well as right; and the other mode of giving and assigning the name which is unlike, I call wrong, and in the case of names, false as well as wrong.
Cratylus: That may be true, Socrates, in the case of pictures; they may be wrongly assigned; but not in the case of names--they must be always right.
Socrates: Why, what is the difference? May I not go to a man and say to him, 'This is your picture,' showing him his own likeness, or perhaps the likeness of a woman;
and when I say 'show,'
I mean bring
before the sense of sight.
Cratylus: Certainly.
And may I not go to him again, and say,
'This is your name'?
for the name, like the picture,
is an imitation.
May I not say to him
'This is your name'?
and may I not then bring to his sense of hearing the imitation of himself,
when I say,
'This is a man'; or of a female of the human species,
when I say, 'This is a woman,'
as the case may be?
Is not all that quite possible?