Similarly, Gorgias, in a work On Nature, or on the Nonent, maintained" (a) that nothing is, (b) that, if anything is, it cannot be known, (c) that, if anything is and can be known, it cannot be expressed in speech; and the summaries which have been preserved by Sextus Empiricus (Adv.
In " Truth," starting from the formula " the Ent (or existent) is, the Nonent (or non-existent) is not," Parmenides attempted to distinguish between the unity or universal element of nature and its variety or particularity, insisting upon the reality of its unity, which is therefore the object of knowledge, and upon the unreality of its variety, which is therefore the object, not of knowledge, but of opinion.
In contrast to them the way of truth starts from the proposition that " the Ent is, the Nonent is not."
On the strength of the fundamental distinction between the Ent and the Nonent, the goddess next announces certain characteristics of the former.
The Ent is uncreated, for it cannot be derived either from the Ent or from the Nonent; it is imperishable, for it cannot pass into the Nonent; it is whole, indivisible, continuous, for nothing exists to break its continuity in space; it is unchangeable [for nothing exists to break its continuity in time]; it is perfect, for there is nothing which it can want; it never was, nor will be, but only is; it is evenly extended in every direction, and therefore a sphere, exactly balanced; it is identical with thought [i.e.
Of these elements [which, according to Aristotle, were, or rather were analogous to, the Ent and the Nonent respectively] all things consist, and from them they derive their several characteristics.
In the truism " the Ent is, the Nonent is not," iv 'rrt, 51, ovK g o-TC, Parmenides breaks with his predecessors, the physicists of the Ionian succession.
Secondly, whereas it has been argued 'above that " Opinion " is necessarily included in the system, Zeller, supposing Parmenides to deny the Nonent even as a matter of opinion, regards that part of the poem which has opinion for its subject as no more than a revised and improved statement of the views of opponents, introduced in order that the reader, having before him the false doctrine as well as the true one, may be led the more certainly to embrace the latter.