Parmenides Sentence Examples
The Platonic testimony, if it proved anything, would prove too much, namely, that the doctrine of the unity of Being originated, not with Xenophanes, but before him; and, in fact, the passage from the Sophist no more proves that Plato attributed to Xenophanes the philosophy of Parmenides than Theaetetus, 160 D, proves that Plato attributed to Homer the philosophy of Heraclitus.
Like Socrates, he was not a philosopher, and did not pretend to be one; but, as the reasoned scepticism of Socrates cleared the way for the philosophy of Plato, so did Xenophanes's "abnormis sapientia" for the philosophy of Parmenides.
Most famous in connexion with this kind of poetry are Xenophanes and Parmenides, the Eleatics and Empedocles of Agrigentum.
Following Parmenides, Philolaus regarded the soul as a "mixture and harmony" of the bodily parts; he also assumed a substantial soul, whose existence in the body is an exile on account of sin.
For his doctrine (a combination of the principles of Parmenides and Socrates) see Megarian School.Advertisement
A new departure was taken by the Eleatic Parmenides (q.v.), who, expressly noting that, when Thales and his successors attributed to the supposed element changing qualities, they became pluralists, required that the superficial variety of nature should be strictly distinguished from its fundamental unity.
Hence, whereas Thales and his successors had confounded the One, the element, and the Many, its modifications, the One and the Not-One or Many became with Parmenides matters for separate investigation.
The same authority says he was a pupil of Parmenides and of Heraclitus, but the statement is improbable, owing to discrepancy in dates.
His works, fragments of which are preserved by Simplicius and attested by the evidence of Aristotle, are devoted to the defence of Parmenides' doctrine.
The weapons which they forged in the interests of Parmenides were to be used with equal effect against themselves.Advertisement
Various as were the phases through which sophistry passed between the middle of the 5th century and the middle of the 4th, the sophists - Socrates himself being no exception - had in their declared antagonism to philosophy a common characteristic; and, if in the interval, philosophical speculation being temporarily suspended, scepticism ceased for the time to be peculiar, at the outset, when Protagoras and Gorgias broke with the physicists, and in the sequel, when Plato raised the cry of " back to Parmenides," this common characteristic was distinctive.
There remains the Parmenides.
The first may have linked on to the series of Plato's dialogues of search, and to put the Parmenides before it is impossible.
The second, though it might still have preceded the Parmenides might equally well have followed the negative criticism of that dialogue, as the beginning of reconstruction.
His grand but obscure hexameters, after the example of Parmenides, delighted Lucretius.Advertisement
While, on one hand, he combines much that had been suggested by Parmenides, Pythagoras and the Ionic schools, he has germs of truth that Plato and Aristotle afterwards developed; he is at once a firm believer in Orphic mysteries, and a scientific thinker, precursor of the physical scientists.
Parmenides, Cratylus; (3) the third group, combining both qualities harmoniously, i.e.
According to Diogenes Laertius he was " in his prime " 504-500 B.C., and would thus seem to have been born about 539 Plato indeed (Parmenides, 127 B) makes Socrates see and hear Parmenides when the latter was about sixty-five years of age, in which case he cannot have been born before 519; but in the absence of evidence that any such meeting took place this may be regarded as one of Plato's anachronisms. However this may be, Parmenides was a contemporary, probably a younger contemporary, of Heraclitus, with whom the first succession of physicists ended, while Empedocles and Anaxagoras, with whom the second succession of physicists began, were very much his juniors.
Belonging, it is said, to a rich and distinguished family, Parmenides attached himself, at any rate for a time, to the aristocratic society or brotherhood which Pythagoras had established at Croton; and accordingly one part of his system, the physical part, is apparently Pythagorean.
To Xenophanes, the founder of Eleaticism - whom he must have known, even if he was never in any strict sense of the word his disciple - Parmenides was, perhaps, more deeply indebted, as the theological speculations of that thinker unquestionably suggested to him the theory of Being and Not-Being, of the One and the Many, by which he sought to reconcile Ionian " monism," or rather " henism," with Italiote dualism.Advertisement
Tradition relates that Parmenides framed laws for the Eleates, who each year took an oath to observe them.
Parmenides embodied his tenets in a short poem, called Nature, of which fragments, amounting in all to about 160 lines, have been preserved in the writings of Sextus Empiricus, Simplicius and others.
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 spite of the contemptuous remarks of Cicero and Plutarch about Parmenides's versification, Nature is not without literary merit.
In the phenomenal world then, there are, it has been thought [and Parmenides accepts the theory, which appears to be of Pythagorean origin], two primary elements - namely, fire, which is gentle, thin, homogeneous, and night, which is dark, thick, heavy.Advertisement
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.
Parmenides sought to reduce the variety of nature to a single material element; but he strictly discriminated the inconstant 7retOri from the constant oboia, and, understanding by " existence " universal, invariable, immutable being, refused to attribute to the IraO'q anything more than the semblance of existence.
Having thus discriminated between the permanent unity of nature and its superficial plurality, Parmenides proceeded to the separate investigation of the Ent and the Nonent.
These propositions having been reached, apart from particular experience, by reflection upon the fundamental principle, we have in them, Parmenides conceived, a body of information resting upon a firm basis and entitled to be called " truth."
If Parmenides's poem had had " Being " for its subject it would doubtless have ended at this point.
Thus, whereas the Ionians, confounding the unity and the plurality of the universe, had neglected plurality, and the Pythagoreans, contenting themselves with the reduction of the variety of nature to a duality or a series of dualities, had neglected unity, Parmenides, taking a hint from Xenophanes, made the antagonistic doctrines supply one another's deficiencies; for, as Xenophanes in his theological system had recognized at once the unity of God and the plurality of things, so Parmenides in his system of nature recognized at once the rational unity of the Ent and the phenomenal plurality of the Nonent.
First, whereas it has been assumed above that Xenophanes was theologian rather than philosopher, whence it would seem to follow that the philosophical doctrine of unity originated, not with him, but with Parmenides, Zeller, supposing Xenophanes to have taught, not merely the unity of God, but also the unity of Being, assigns to Parmenides no more than an exacter conception of the doctrine of the unity of Being, the justification of that doctrine, and the denial of the plurality and the mutability of things.
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.
The teaching of Parmenides variously influenced both his immediate successors and subsequent thinkers.
The doctrine of the deceitfulness of " the undiscerning eye and the echoing ear " soon established itself, though the grounds upon which Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus maintained it were not those which were alleged by Parmenides.
But the positive influence of Parmenides's teaching was not yet exhausted.
To say that the Platonism of Plato's later years, the Platonism of the Parmenides, the Philebus and the Timaeus, is the philosophy of Parmenides enlarged and reconstituted, may perhaps seem paradoxical in the face of the severe criticism to which Eleaticism is subjected, not only in the Parmenides, but also in the Sophist.
Thus may be explained the selection of an Eleatic stranger to be the chief speaker in the latter, and of Parmenides himself to take the lead in the former.
In particular, Plato taxes Parmenides with his inconsistency in attributing (as he certainly did) to the fundamental unity extension and sphericity, so that "the worshipped dv is after all a pitiful j.) " (W.
In the Parmenides reconstruction predominates over criticism - the letter of Eleaticism being here represented by Zeno, its spirit, as Plato conceived it, by Parmenides.
In short, Parmenides was no idealist, but Plato recognized in him,!
In Plato's Parmenides, Socrates, "then very young," meets Parmenides, "an old man some sixty-five years of age," and Zeno, "a man of about forty, tall and personable," and engages them in philosophical discussion.
Plato's account of Zeno's teaching (Parmenides, 128 seq.) is, however, presumably as accurate as it is precise.
In reply to those who thought that Parmenides's theory of the existence of the One involved inconsistencies and absurdities, Zeno tried to show that the assumption of the existence of the Many, that is to say, a plurality of things in time and space, carried with it inconsistencies and absurdities grosser and more numerous.
In short, the ordinary belief in plurality and motion seemed to him to involve fatal inconsistencies, whence he inferred that Parmenides was justified in distinguishing the mutable movable Many from the 1 See Zeller, Die Philosophic d.
He was not indeed aware how deeply he had committed himself; otherwise he would have observed that his argument, if valid against the Many of the vulgar, was valid also against the One of Parmenides, with its plurality of attributes, as well as that, in the absence of a theory of predication, it was useless to speculate about knowledge and being.
In all probability Zeno did not observe that in his controversial defence of Eleaticism he was interpreting Parmenides's teaching anew.
For, while Parmenides had recognized, together with the One, which is, and is the object of knowledge, a Many, which is not, and therefore is not known, but nevertheless becomes, and is the object of opinion, Zeno plainly affirmed that plurality, becoming and opinion are one and all inconceivable.
In a word, the fundamental dogma, "The Ent is, the Non-ent is not," which with Parmenides had been an assertion of the necessity of distinguishing between the Ent, which is, and the Non-ent, which is not, but becomes, was with Zeno a declaration of the Non-ent's absolute nullity.
Thus, just as Empedocles developed Parmenides's theory of the Many to the neglect of his theory of the One, so Zeno developed the theory of the One to the neglect of the theory of the Many.
With the severance of its two members Eleaticism proper, the Eleaticism of Parmenides, ceased to exist.
For histories of philosophy and other works upon Eleaticism see PARMENIDES.
There are still extant commentaries on the First Alcibiades, Parmenides, Republic, Timaeus and Cratylus.
Cousin (Paris, 1864) contains the treatises De providentia et fato, Decem dubitationes, and De malorum subsistentia, the commentaries on the Alcibiades and Parmenides.
The division of the sphere into parallel zones and some of the consequences of this generalization seem to have presented themselves to Parmenides (c. 450 B.C.); but these ideas did not influence the Ionian school of philosophers, who in their treatment of geography preferred to deal with facts demonstrable by flecataeus .
Again, Aristotle's description of Xenophanes as the first of the Eleatic unitarians does not necessarily imply that the unity asserted by Xenophanes was the unity asserted by Parmenides; the phrase, "contemplating the firmament, he declared that the One is God," leaves it doubtful whether Aristotle attributed to Xenophanes any philosophical theory whatever; and the epithet a ypoLKOTEpos discourages the belief that Aristotle regarded Xenophanes as the author of a new and important departure.
Among the pre-Socratic nature-philosophers of Greece, Heraclitus and the Eleatics are the chief representatives of this polemic. The diametrical opposition of the grounds on which the veracity of the senses is impugned by the two philosophies (see Heraclitus, Parmenides, Eleatic School) was in itself suggestive of sceptical reflection.
The rejection of the Parmenides would involve the paradox of a nameless contemporary of Plato Plato's episodic use of logical distinctions is frequent.
Parmenides and Zeno (see Eleatic School) enunciated the principle that "Nothing is born of nothing."
The foundation for a cosmology having thus been laid in dualism, the poem went on to describe the generation of " earth and sun, and moon and air that is common to all, and the milky way, and furthest Olympus, and the glowing stars "; but the scanty fragments which have survived suffice only to show that Parmenides regarded the universe as a series of concentric rings or spheres composed of the two primary elements and of combinations of them, the whole system being directed by an unnamed goddess established at its centre.
Thus, in the Parmenides, with the paradox of likeness and unlikeness for his text, he inquires how far the cur14nt theories of being (his own included) are capable of providing, not only for knowledge, but also for predication, and in the concluding sentence he suggests that, as likeness and unlikeness, greatness and smallness, &c., are relations, the initial paradox is no longer paradoxical; while in the Sophist, Zeno's doctrine having been shown to be fatal to reason, thought, speech and utterance, the mutual Koevwvia of Elan which are not abra KaO' abra is elaborately demonstrated.
Aristotle, too, gave greater definiteness to the idea of zones conceived by Parmenides, who had pictured a torrid zone uninhabitable by reason of heat, two frigid zones uninhabitable by reason of cold, and two intermediate temperate zones fit for human occupation.
It took its name from Elea, a Greek city of lower Italy, the home of its chief exponents, Parmenides and Zeno.
Its foundation is often attributed to Xenophanes of Colophon, but, although there is much in his speculations which formed part of the later Eleatic doctrine, it is probably more correct to regard Parmenides as the founder of the school.
At all events, it was Parmenides who gave it its fullest development.
In the hands of Parmenides this spirit of free thought developed on metaphysical lines.
See further the articles on Xenophanes; Parmenides; Zeno (of Elea); Melissus, with the works there quoted; also the histories of philosophy by Zeller, Gomperz, Windelband, &c.
Parmenides of Elea (544-430 B.C.) distinguishes five of these zones, viz.
Remigius is thus a Realist, not so much in the sense of Plato as in the spirit of Parmenides, and Haureau applies to this form of Realism Bayle's description of Realism in general as " le Spinosisme non developpe."
Whether Xenophanes was a monotheist, whose assertion of the unity of God suggested to Parmenides the doctrine of the unity of Being, or a pantheist, whose assertion of the unity of God was also a declaration of the unity of Being, so that he anticipated Parmenides - in other words, whether Xenophanes's teaching was purely theological or had also a philosophical significance - is a question about which authorities have differed and will probably continue to differ.
Accordingly his assertion of the unity of God was at the same time a declaration of the unity of Being, and in virtue of this declaration he is entitled to rank as the founder of Eleaticism, inasmuch as the philosophy of Parmenides was his forerunner's pantheism divested of its theistic element.