Theory and History of Ontology (www.ontology.co)by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc
This part of the section History of Ontology includes of the following pages:
The Thought of Heraclitus
Heraclitus and the Question of the One and the Many (under construction)
The Thought of Parmenides
Critical Notes on His Fragments (Diels Kranz fr. 1-3)
Critical Editions and translations
Annotated bibliography of studies on Parmenides in English:
F - G (Current page)
Bibliographies on Parmenides in other languages:
Bibliographie des études en Français
Bibliografia degli studi in Italiano
Bibliographie der Studien auf Deutsch
Bibliografía de estudios en Español
Bibliografía de estudos em Português
Index of the Section: Ancient Philosophy from the Presocratics to the Hellenistic Period
Annotated bibliography of the studies in English: Complete PDF Version on the website Academia.edu
Ferreira, Fernando. 1999. "On the Parmenidean Misconception." Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy no. 2:37-49.
"This paper is organized as follows. In the next section, I focus on the weaker gradation of an RTMS [referential theory of the meaning of sentences] and I argue that this gradation, while still unable to make sense of falsehoods, nevertheless enlarges greatly the scope of significant sentences (albeit at an ontological price) and is able to make sense of true negative predications. The relation between a weak RTMS and Plato’s above mentioned double-theory is suggested in the text via what I call Plato’s maneuver. However, this relation is not fully discussed in this article since I believe that a proper treatment of such an issue requires a discussion that is beyond the scope of the present paper. In my view, this discussion must include an account of the finale of the Sophist (after 259e), in which Plato tries to make sense of falsehoods. I plan such an undertaking at a latter date. In the third section, I discuss the first part of Parmenides' poem in light of a strong RTMS. In the course of this discussion, I propose a rather strong correlation between verses 3-4 and verses 40-41 of fragment 8 of the poem. This correlation is, to my knowledge, new in the literature. Finally, in the last section, I briefly consider an objection to the interpretation of the poem of Parmenides proposed in this article." (pp. 38-39)
Finkelberg, Aryeh. 1986. "The Cosmology of Parmenides." American Journal of Philology no. 107:303-317.
"Our main source of information about the cosmological component of Parmenides' doctrine of Opinion - apart from the first three and a half abstruse lines of fr. 12 - is Aëtius' account. This, however, is generally regarded as confused, garbled and incompatible with fr. 12.
The reconstruction of Parmenides' cosmology is thus considered a hopeless task, for "it must inevitably be based on many conjectures."'
I, however, cannot accept this conclusion, for, as I argue below, it is possible to provide a reasonably intelligible account of Aëtius' report (except for the corrupt sentence about the goddess) which is also compatible with fr. 12, provided, of course, that we are not bent upon proving our sources incompatible, but rather seek to reconcile them." (p. 303)
"Aëtius' report reads as follows:(2)
"Parmenides says that there are rings wound one around the other, one made of the rare, the other of the dense, and between them there are others mixed of light and darkness. What surrounds them all like a wall is solid, beneath which there is a fiery ring, and what is in the middle of all rings is ˂solid>: around which there is again a fiery [sc. ring]. The middlemost of the mixed rings is for them all the ˂origin> and ˂cause> of motion and coming into being which he calls steering goddess, and key-holder, and Justice, and Necessity. Air has been separated off from the earth vaporized because of the latter's stronger compression; the sun is an exhalation of fire and such is the Milky Way. The moon is a mixture of both air and fire. Aether is topmost, surrounding all; beneath it there is that fire-like part which we call sky; beneath it is what surrounds the earth." (p. 304, notes omitted)
(2) Aët. II 1, 7 (DK 28 A 37):
———. 1986. "'Like by Like’ and Two Reflections of Reality in Parmenides." Hermes.Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie no. 114:405-412.
"The main problem confronting the student of Parmenides' doctrine is the nature of the relation between the two pictures of reality posited in his poem: reality as Being and reality as a mixture of the two 'forms', light and night.
To characterize the Parmenidean doctrine as ontological dualism explains nothing - the question is, what is the motivation for this dualism? Moreover, the Parmenidean teaching is epistemological rather than ontological dualism, for what is described in the Way of Seeming is not a different reality from that described in the Way of Truth, but a different knowledge of the same reality - the universe(1) - a knowledge declared inferior. On the assumption that the Parmenidean dualism is epistemological, we must therefore examine how man cognizes reality, with a view to isolating the conditions which determine the cognition of reality as Being or as a mixture of the 'forms'." (p. 405)
(1) That Parmenides conceived of Being as the unity of all things is the view of Plato (e.g. Parm. 128 A, 152 E), Aristotle (e.g. Met. 986b 27), and Theophrastus (e.g. ap. Hippol. Ref. I 11).
———. 1988. "Parmenides: Between Material and Logical Monism." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 70:1-14.
"To recapitulate. The problem of the monistic conception of reality, insoluble when approached on physical terms, was solved by Parmenides by inventing the notion of Being. When translated into terms of the doctrine of Being, monism became the logical necessity to conceive Being as the only thing that exists, while pluralism, that is, the assumption of the existence of something beside Being, revealed itself as the fallacy of admitting the existence of such a thing as not-Being. However, it was not the problem of Ionian monism to which Parmenides' thought was committed: the idea of cosmic Fire underlying the notion of Being shows that it was the failure of his own vision of reality as a material unity, a vision which he shared with the Ionians, to be truly monistic, that prompted Parmenides to a thorough examination of the pattern of current monism, resulting in a new idea of unity and a revision of the standing of cosmology in the monistic doctrine. In its genesis, the Parmenidean teaching is then a material monistic doctrine in which the material principle, Fire, is replaced by Being, while the cosmology is reinterpreted as a pluralistic misconception and demonstrated to be untenable on the application of true names as they are established in the ἀλήθεια.
However the underlying material monistic pattern still remains operative: Fire persists as a visualisation of Being, thus providing the rationale for the cosmology and determining its specific profile, while the cosmology remains - not a true but nevertheless to some degree a valid account. The Parmenidean system is thus not self-contained, for the formative conception of Fire, the vision which mediates the transition from Being to the cosmology, thus making the teaching into a coherent whole, remains outside the formally posited doctrine." (pp. 12-13)
———. 1988. "Parmenides' Foundation of the Way of Truth." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 6:39-67.
"The problem of the subject of estin and ouk estin in B 2.3 and 5 is one of the most controversial issues in Parmenides scholarship. The usual approach is that estin and ouk estin have a subject, which, however, remains unexpressed. Now by unexpressed subject one may mean that (a) a given utterance has a logical subject which is not expressed grammatically but is supplied by the immediate context, or (b) a given utterance has a logical subject which is neither expressed by means of a grammatical subject nor supplied by the immediate context. The case (a) is an instance of an ordinary linguistic phenomenon called ellipsis; the case (b) is either grammatically nonsensical or an example of unintelligible speech." (p. 39)
"Below I argue that einai is the only subject that meets this requirement. Proceeding from this assumption, I argue that einai should be distinguished from eon and that the 'ways' of B 2 are not so much ontological statements as logical-linguistic patterns whose truth and falsehood are self-evident.
These patterns serve in Parmenides as the basis of the subsequent deduction of true existential assertions about Being and not-Being, and I try to show that, if taken in this perspective, all the extant fragments preceding B 8, from B 2 to B 7, constitute a single argument whose detailed reconstruction I propose in the second section of the article. Finally, in the third section, I examine, proceeding from the conclusions arrived at, the question of truth and falsehood in Parmenides in a more general context, which helps to shed light on the respective logical standing of the two parts of Parmenides' poem, the Aletheia and the Doxa." (p. 42)
———. 1997. "Xenophanes Physics Parmenides Doxa and Empedocles Theory of Cosmogonical Mixture." Hermes.Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie no. 125:1-16.
Abstract: "Although the resemblances between Empedocles' and Parmenides' physical theories are commonly recognized, in speaking of the former's philosophical debt to the latter commentators usually focus on theἀλήθεια, paying much less attention, if any, to the δόξα (1). To me, this approach suggests that the role of the δόξαin fashioning Empedocles' physical doctrine is not sufficiently appreciated and calls for further discussion; consequently I propose a brief survey of Parmenides' δόξα with a view to elucidating systematic correlations between his and Empedocles' physical theories. Further, I intend to argue that Empedocles' physical doctrine is the final stage of a development which can be traced through Parmenides' δόξα back to Xenophanes' 'physics'. I believe that the novelty of
Xenophanes' 'physics' has not been duly appraised and its role as a forerunner of Parmenides' δόξα largely overlooked."
(1) Thus, for example, in speaking of Parmenides' influence in the 'Conclusion' to his investigation of Empedocles' thought, D. O'Brien, Empedocles' Cosmic Cycle, Cambridge 1969, 237-249, does not even mention the δόξα; similarly, B. Inwoord, The Poem of Empedocles, Toronto 1992, 22-28, addresses only theἀλήθεια.
———. 1999. "Being, Truth and Opinion in Parmenides." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 81:233-248.
"The traditional premise of Parmenidean scholarship is that the theory of Being renders the phenomenal world merely apparent and the account of this world in the Doxa fallacious. Accordingly, commentators find themselves reckoning with the tantalizing question of the rationale of Parmenides' supplementing a true theory with a false one. In what follows, I propose to consider the thesis that Parmenides' Being is consistent with material heterogeneity and that, accordingly, the two parts of the poem combine to yield an exhaustive account of reality." (p. 233)
"This construal of Parmenides' thought enables an understanding of his poem as a unified philosophical project in which the Doxa has its rightful place, and extricates us from the hopeless dilemma that either Parmenides' acceptance of his own conclusions was qualified for the upheld their truth unqualifiedly and was mad.(37)" (p. 248)
(37) As stated by M. Furth, "Elements of Eleatic Ontology," in A. P. D. Mourelatos (ed.), The Pre-Socratics, Princeton, 1993, 268; cf. C. H. Kahn, "The Thesis of Parmenides," Review of Metaphysics 22, 1969, 715.
Floyd, Edwin. 1992. "Why Parmenides Wrote in Verse." Ancient Philosophy no. 12:251-265.
"Parmenides chose verse (instead of prose) for its many resonances highlighting deception. Prophron at 1.22, for example, has an apparently straightforward meaning "kindly", but in Homer it is used in contexts of divine disguise. Later on in Parmenides' poem, the focus on the immobility of Being (8.37-38) recalls Athena's fateful deception of Hektor in Iliad, book 22. Even more clearly, Doxa shows the pattern too, since the transition from Aletheia at 8.52 parallels a context (Solon, fr l.2, ed. West) in which feigned madness brings about the Athenians's regaining Salamis."
Fränkel, Hermann Ferdinand. 1962. Early Greek Poetry and Philosophy. A history of Greek epic, lyric, and prose to the middle of the fifth century. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic.
Translated from the German Dichtung und Philosophie des frühen Griechentums (second revised edition 1962) by Moses Hadas and James Willis.
Chapter VII Philosophy and Empirical Science at the end of the Archaic Period: (c) Parmenides, pp. 349-370.
"The core of Parmenides' philosophy is metaphysical in its nature.
To come face to face with that reality beyond the senses which had disclosed to him, the poet had to mount in spirit beyond this world in which we live. Whenever he reflected upon his lofty ideas, he felt himself' carried away into a realm of light beyond all earthly things. In the introduction to his poem he describes this experience, and since ordinary words are incapable of conveying anything so far beyond the ordinary, he conveys it in images and symbols.(2) (pp. 350-351)
"We have now in all essential points come to the end of our information about the philosophy of Parmenides. It unites grandeur of intuition with strictness of logic. He had gazed upon Being in all its plenitude and glory, but also in all its austerity and exclusiveness.
Just as Xenophanes had chosen to believe in god as god and as nothing else, so Parmenides worked out his notion of Being as pure Being and nothing else; and he used his razor-edged dialectic to defend it against all common-sense doubts as the unique and perfect actuality, The metaphysical spirit here rules supreme.
This metaphysical spirit (cf. 1, 1 θυμός) is most completely expressed in the opening, in which the philosopher describes his own ascent into pure and inerrant reason in dramatic and vigorous images. There is a sequence of three scenes: the furious journey from night into day; the passing of a gate that opens to one man only; the gracious reception on the other side. The autobiographical 'I' at first appears quite openly; then it is latent and implied in the horses, chariot, maidens, etc.; then directly again in the address (1, 22ff.), where it is ennobled by the goddess' hand-clasp, to be replaced by 'you' on the lips of the divine speaker. This 'you' has a personal character as long as it is denoting (as in 24-32) the recipient of an exclusive favour, one who has raised himself above the fluctuations of humanity. But when the 'you' recurs later, as it sometimes does, it denotes only the audience of the lecture-in one instance Parmenides particularly (8, 61), elsewhere anyone who through his intermediacy will hear or read the poem." (p. 365)
(2) Probably this was why Parmenides chose verse: fr. 1 could not have been expressed in the Greek prose of his time.
———. 1975. "Studies in Parmenides." In Studies in Presocratic Philosophy. Vol. II: The Eleatics and Pluralists, edited by Furley, David J. and Allen, R. E., 1-47. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Partial English translation of Parmenidesstudien (Nachrichten der Göttinger Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften 1930, 153-192).
"My intention in the following studies is to correct and extend certain essential aspects of our present knowledge of the system of Parmenides by criticism and interpretation of original fragments and testimonia. In so doing, I shall take particular care to keep dose to the wording of the original text, as is done as a matter of course in the interpretation of 'pure' literature, but is easily neglected in the case of a strictly philosophical text, where the content appears to speak for itself, quite independently of the words which happen to be used. And yet much will be radically misunderstood, and many of the best, liveliest and most characteristic features of the doctrine will be missed, if one fails to read the work as an epic poem which belongs to its own period, and to approach it as a historical document, through its language.
These studies are presented in such a way that only Diels-Kranz is required as a companion." ( p. 1)
"As Parmenides himself says (B 3), his thought runs in a circle; it proves itself by itself, just as Being rests in itself: For equal to itself symmetrically on all sides, symmetrically it meets its πείρατα (104) to translate more exactly the vivdly empirical έγκύρειe: 'it happens everywhere upon its final forms.' Being has reached its formation symmetrically in every direction.
So has the theory of Reality; and with these words it is concluded." (p. 36)
Frère, Jean. 2011. "Mortals (βροτοί) According to Parmenides." In Parmenides, 'Venerable and Awesome' (Plato, Theaetetus 183e), edited by Cordero, Néstor-Luis, 135-146. Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing.
Summary: "It is a common opinion that when Parmenides refers to “mortals,” he is referring to all human beings. But in fact, when he talks of “mortals,” he implies only a limited fraction of humanity: those thinkers who have elaborated clever but nevertheless insufficient or misleading theories about the origin of things and the cosmos. This can be observed in fragment 6, where the formula “mortals who know nothing,” far from implying all humanity, refers only to Heraclitus and his disciples. In the same way, in fragment 8.53–61, “mortals” who acknowledge two separate types of light and night to apprehend the structure of the cosmos are only the Pythagoreans, not all humans."
Frings, Manfred. 1988. "Parmenides: Heidegger's 1942-1943 Lecture Held at Freiburg University." Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology no. 19:15-33.
"In what follows, I wish to present a number of essentials of Heidegger's lecture, originally entitled, "Heraclitus and Parmenides," which he delivered at Freiburg University in the Winter Semester of 1942/1943. This was at a time when the odds of World War II had turned sharply against the Nazi regime in Germany. Stalingrad held out and the Germans failed to cross the Volga that winter. Talk of an impending "invasion" kept people in suspense. Cities were open to rapidly increasing and intensifying air raids. There wasn't much food left.
It is amazing that any thinker could have been able to concentrate on pre-Socratic thought at that time. In the lecture, there are no remarks made against the allies; nor are there any to be found that would even remotely support the then German cause. But Communism is hit hard once by Heidegger, who says that it represents an awesome organization-mind in our time.
There are two factors that somewhat impeded my endeavor of presenting the contents of this lecture:
1. Heidegger had originally entitled the lecture "Heraclitus and Parmenides." The 1942/43 lecture was followed in 1943 and 1944 by two more lectures on Heraclitus. 2 When I read the manuscripts of the 1942/43 lecture for the first time, I was stunned that Heraclitus was mentioned just five times, and, even then, in more or less loose contexts. I decided that the title of the lecture should be reduced to just "Parmenides" in order to accommodate the initial expectations of the reader and his own thought pursuant to having read and studied it.
2. While reading the lecture-manuscripts for the first time, another troubling technicality came to my attention: long stretches of the lecture hardly even deal with Parmenides himself, and Heidegger seems to get lost in a number of areas that do, prima facie, appear to be irrelevant to Parmenides. And Heidegger was rather strongly criticized for this in the prestigious literary section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to the effect that it was suggested that I could have done even better had I given the lecture an altogether different title and omitted the name Parmenides." (p. 15, notes omitted).
———. 1991. "Heidegger's Lectures on Parmenides and Heraclitus (1942-1944)." Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology no. 22:197-199.
"This is a discussion of the coverage of three Lectures Heidegger held on Parmenides and Heraclitus from 1942 to 1944. It is designed on the background of his personal experience during the trip he made to Greece in 1962 as recorded in his diary. The question is raised whether his 1943 arrangement of 10 Heraclitus fragments could be extended by "refitting transformations" of other fragments. The three Lectures are seen as tethered to Heidegger's 1966/67 Heraclitus Seminar. Central to his trip was the island of Delos where he seemingly experienced the free region of Aletheia. A "fragment" in his diary is suggested as a motto for all three Lectures."
Fritz, Kurt von. 1945. "Nous, noein and Their Derivatives in the Pre-Socratic Philosophy (Excluding Anaxagoras). Part I. From the Beginnings to Parmenides." Classical Philology no. 40:223-242.
Reprinted (with the second part) in: Alexander P. D. Mourelatos, The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays, New York: Anchor Press, 1974; second revised edition, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993, pp. 23-52 (on Parmenides see pp. 43-52).
"In an earlier article (1) I tried to analyze the meaning or meanings of the words noos and noein in the Homeric poems, in preparation for an analysis of the importance of these terms in early Greek philosophy. The present article will attempt to cope with this second and somewhat more difficult problem, but to the exclusion of the nous of Anaxagoras, since this very complicated concept requires a separate investigation." p. 23 of the reprint.
So far it might seem as if Parmenides' concept of noos is still essentially the same as that of his predecessors, including his contemporary Heraclitus. In fact, however, Parmenides brings in an entirely new and heterogeneous element. It is a rather remarkable fact that Heraclitus uses the particle gar only where he explains the ignorance of the common crowd. There is absolutely no gar or any other particle of the same sense in any of the passages in which he explains his own view of the truth. He or his noos sees or grasps the truth and sets it forth. There is neither need nor room for arguments. Homer and Hesiod, likewise, when using the term noos, never imply that someone comes to a conclusion concerning a situation so that the statement could be followed up with a sentence beginning with "for" or "because." A person realizes the situation. That is all. In contrast to this, Parmenides in the central part of his poem has a gar, an épei, oun, eineka, ouneka in almost every sentence. He argues, deduces, tries to prove the truth of his statements by logical reasoning. What is the relation of this reasoning to the noos?
The answer is given by those passages in which the goddess tells Parmenides which "road of inquiry" he should follow with his noos and from which roads he must keep away his noema.
These roads, as the majority of the fragments clearly show, are roads or lines of discursive thinking, expressing itself in judgments, arguments, and conclusions. Since the noos is to follow one of the three possible roads of inquiry and to stay away from the others, there can be no doubt that discursive thinking is part of the function of the noos. Yet -- and this is just as important -- noein is not identical with a process of logical deduction pure and simple in the sense of formal logic, a process which through a syllogistic mechanism leads from any set of related premises to conclusions which follow with necessity from those premises, but also a process which in itself is completely unconcerned with, and indifferent to, the truth or untruth of the original premises. It is still the primary function of the noos to be in direct touch with ultimate reality. It reaches this ultimate reality not only at the end and as a result of the logical process, but in a way is in touch with it from the very beginning, since, as Parmenides again and again points out, there is no noos without the eon, in which it unfolds itself. In so far as Parmenides' difficult thought can be explained, the logical process seems to have merely the function of clarifying and confirming what, in a way, has been in the noos from the very beginning and of cleansing it of all foreign elements.
So for Parmenides himself, what, for lack of a better word, may be called the intuitional element in the noos is still most important. Yet it was not through his "vision" but through the truly or seemingly compelling force of his logical reasoning that he acquired the dominating position in the philosophy of the following century. At the same time, his work marks the most decisive turning-point in the history of the terms noos, noein, etc.; for he was the first consciously to include logical reasoning in the functions of the noos. The notion of noos underwent many other changes in the further history of Greek philosophy, but none as decisive as this. The intuitional element is still present in Plato's and Aristotle's concepts of noos and later again in that of the Neoplatonists. But the term never returned completely to its pre-Parmenidean meaning." (pp. 51-52 notes omitted)
(1) "Noos and Noein in the Homeric Poems," Classical Philology, 38 (1943), 79-93.
———. 1946. "Nous, noein and Their Derivatives in the Pre-Socratic Philosophy (Excluding Anaxagoras). Part II. The Post-Parmenidean period." Classical Philology no. 40:12-34.
Reprinted (with the first part) in: Alexander P. D. Mourelatos, The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays, New York: Anchor Press, 1974; second revised edition, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993, pp. 52-85.
Fronterotta, Francesco. 2007. "Some Remarks on Noein in Parmenides." In Reading Ancient Texts. Volume I: Presocratics and Plato. Essays in Honour of Denis O'Brien, edited by Stern-Gillet, Suzanne and Corrigan, Kevin, 3-19. Leiden: Brill.
"In this paper I will confine myself to O’Brien’s works on Parmenides. I refer in particular to the two volumes of Études sur Parménide, to which he contributed so substantially. In the first volume we find his magisterial version of Parmenides’s fragments, with French and English translations and commentary, and a critical examination of the main interpretative and philosophical questions that they pose. The second volume includes two Essays by him. One of these looks at a number of textual problems, and it aims to elucidate the “ideological” background which often conditions the study of texts because of a pre-existing historico-philosophical understanding of their contents.(1) O’Brien shows that many variants of the texts of frr. 1 and 8 DK reveal a Neoplatonic origin — very likely because Neoplatonic commentators felt the need to establish a convergence between the meaning and the spirit of the Parmenidean text and their own doctrinal positions. O’Brien’s essay is a model of its kind, both as a reading of and commentary on the Parmenidean fragments (and on pre-Platonic thinkers in general) and for my more modest objective here, that of reflecting upon the significance of νοείν.
I shall look at translations of the verb νοείν, and, more especially, the species of activity to which this verb, according to Parmenides, refers us." (p. 3)
(1) See P. Aubenque (ed.), vols. 1 (Le poème de Parménide) and 2 (Problèmes d’interprétation).
The essay I am now referring to is in vol. 2: Problèmes d’établissement du texte, pp. 314–50.
Furley, David J. 1967. "Parmenides of Elea." In Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edwards, Paul, 47-51. New York: Macmillan.
Reprinted in Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Second Edition, edited by Donald M. Borchert, New York: Thomson-Gale, 2006, pp. 122-127, with an Addendum by Patricia Curd, pp. 127-129.
"David Furley's original entry remains an exemplary introduction to Parmenides' thought. Since its publication, philosophers have focused on the character of the routes of inquiry that the goddess lays out in the poem, suggesting different interpretations of the subjectless is (or esti), and of the nature of to eon, the subject of inquiry. In addition, scholars have continued to study the Proem (the opening lines of the poem) and the Doxa (the goddesses' statement of mortal opinion), but there is no consensus about either." (p. 127)
———. 1973. "Notes on Parmenides." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy:1-15.
Supplementary vol. I: E. N. Lee, A. P. D. Mourelatos, R. M. Rorty (eds.), Exegesis and Argument. Studies in Greek Philosophy presented to Gregory Vlastos, Assen: Van Gorcum.
Reprinted in: D. J. Furley, Cosmic Problems: Essays on Greek and Roman Philosophy of Nature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989 pp. 27-37.
"There is a set of problems, much discussed in the literature, concerning the nature of the journey described in B1 of Parmenides, its destination, the revelation made to him by the goddess, and the connection between the symbolism of B1 and the two forms, Light and Night, which are the principles of the cosmology of the Way of Doxa. Some of these problems, I believe, have now been solved. The solution, which is mainly the work of scholars writing in German, (1) has been either overlooked or rejected by the English-speaking community, (2) and it seems worthwhile drawing attention to it and developing it." (p. 27)
(1) The essential suggestion was made, without much argument, by Morrison [Parmenides and Er] (1955). For detailed arguments, see Mansfeld [Die Offenbarung des Parmenides und die menschliche Welt] (1964) 222-61, and Burkert [Das Proömium des Parmenides und die Katabasis des Pythagoras] (1969).
(2) For example, by Guthrie [A History of Greek Philosophy] (1965) II, Tarán [Parmenides] (1965), myself [Parmenides of Elea] (1967), Kahn [The Thesis of Parmenides] (1969), and Mourelatos [The Route of Parmenides] (1970), 15 and n. 19.
———. 1989. "Truth as What survives the elenchos. An idea in Parmenides." In The Criterion of Truth. Essays Written in Honour of George Kerferd, together with a Text and Translation (With Annotations) of Ptolemy's on the Kriterion and Hegemonikon, edited by Huby, Pamela and Neal.Stephen, 1-12. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
Reprinted in D. J. Furley, Cosmic Problems: Essays on Greek and Roman Philosophy of Nature, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1989, pp. 38-46.
"My starting point in this paper is a couple of lines from Parmenides' poem. There is some reason to claim that they are the most remarkable lines in that astonishing document:
κρίνοι δε λόγφ πολύδηριν ελεγχον έξ έμεθεν ρηθεντα, μόνος δ' ετι μύθος οδοιο λειπεται ώς εατιν.
Judge by logos the hard-hitting refutation ( elenchos ) that I have uttered. Only one single account of a way is left: that it is. (DK 2SB7.5-8.2)
The paradox of Parmenides is presented in the strongest outline here.
It is a goddess who speaks these lines, revealing the way of Truth to the initiate. Instead of standing on authority or using the persuasive power of religious ritual, she tells him to take away her message and subject it to criticism: judge by logos. Moreover, the revelation itself takes the form of a criticism: what she first offers Parmenides on his arrival , when he has passed through the gates of which Justice holds the key, is described as an έλεγχος (elenchos). This is the aspect of Parmenides' vision that I want to elaborate on this occasion. I am aiming to do two things: to improve the case for thinking that ελεγχος does indeed mean 'refutation ' here, rather than 'proof'; (1) and to see what this tells us about the underlying conception of truth." (p. 1)
(1) I argued briefly for this thesis in 'Notes on Parmenides' in Exegesis and Argument: Studies in Greek Philosophy presented to Gregory Vlastos, ed. E. N. Lee, A. P. D. Mourelatos, and R. M. Rorty, Phronesis suppl. vol . I ( Assen 1973), 1 -15. I was stimulated to more about it by some contrary arguments in a paper by Mr. James Lesher , which he was kind enough to send me in typescript.
A year or so later I was invited to present a paper at a conference on "Truth" at Brown University, and without again looking at Mr. Lesher's paper I wrote the present article. Shortly afterwards I sent it to the Editors of this volume, being very happy to have the opportunity to join in honouring my old and admired friend, George Kerferd.
Some time later, Mr. Lesher published his article ("Parmenides' Critique of Thinking: the poluderis elenchos of Fragment 7", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 2 (1984), 1-30.
On re-reading it, I see that although we come to different conclusions, we cover much of the same ground. To take proper notice of Mr. Lesher's arguments now would mean rewriting my paper and expanding it quite a lot. But since we worked independently of each other, I think it best to leave the reader to make the comparisons.
Furth, Montgomery. 1968. "Elements of Eleatic Ontology." Journal of the History of Philosophy:111-132.
Reprinted in: Alexander Mourelatos (ed.), The Pre-Socratics. A Collection of Critical Essays, Garden City: Anchor Press, 1974; second revised edition: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993, pp. 241-270.
"The task of an interpreter of Parmenides is to find the simplest, historically most plausible, and philosophically most comprehensible set of assumptions that imply (in a suitably loose sense) the doctrine of `being' set out in Parmenides' poem.' In what follows I offer an interpretation that certainly is simple and that I think should be found comprehensible. Historically, only more cautious claims are possible, for several portions of the general view from which I 'deduce the poem' are not clearly stated in the poem itself; my explanation of this is that they are operating as tacit assumptions, and indeed that the poem is best thought of as an attempt to force these very assumptions to the surface for formulation and criticism-that the poem is a challenge. To be sure, there are dangers in pretending, as for dramatic purposes I shall, that ideas are definite and explicit which for Parmenides himself must have been tacit or vague-that Parmenides knew what he was doing as clearly as I represent him; I try to avoid them, but the risk must be taken. I even believe that not to take it, in the name of preserving his thought pure from anachronous contamination, actually prevents us from seeing the extent to which he, pioneer, was ahead of his time-the argument works both ways. So let me hedge my historical claim in this way: the view I shall discuss could have been an active- indeed a controlling-element of Eleaticism; to suppose that Parmenides held it not only explains the poem, but also helps explain the subsequent reactions to Eleaticism of Anaxagoras, Democritus, and Plato (though there is not space to elaborate this here). In addition, it brings his thought astonishingly close to some contemporary philosophical preoccupations.
In the first of the following sections, I lay down some sketchy but necessary groundwork concerning the early Greek concept of 'being.' Then in Section 2 an interpretation is given of what I take to be the central Parmenidean doctrine, that 'it cannot be said that anything is not.' This section is the lengthiest and most involved, but it also contains all the moves that appear to be important. Of the remaining sections, Section 3 explains the principle: 'of what is, all that can be said is: it is,' Section 4 deals briefly with the remaining cosmology of "The Way of Truth," and Section 5 considers the question whether Parmenides himself believed the fantastic conclusions of his argument. There is a short postscript on a point of methodology." ( pp. 111-112)
Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1998. The Beginning of Philosophy. New York: Continuum.
See chapter 9: Parmenides and the Opinions of Mortals pp. 94-106 and chapter 10: Parmenides on Being, pp. 107-125.
"The last line of the second fragment says that it is not possible to formulate that which is not (7) (me eon), for this can neither be investigated nor communicated.
It is possible that the third fragment forms the continuation of this text: to gar auto noein estin to kai einai. (8) In the meantime, Agostino Marsoner has convinced me that fragment 3 is not a Parmenides quotation at all but a formulation stemming from Plato himself, which I believe I have correctly interpreted and which Clement of Alexandria has ascribed to Parmenides. In order to interpret this fragment, we must confirm that estin does not serve here as a copula but instead means existence (9) and, in fact, not just in the sense that something is there but also in the characteristic classical Greek sense that it is possible, that it has the power to be. Here, of course, "that it is possible" includes that it is. Secondly, we must be clear about what is meant by "the same" (to auto). Since this expression stands at the beginning of the text, it is generally understood as the main point and therefore as the subject. On the contrary, in Parmenides "the same" is always a predicate, hence that which is stated of something. Admittedly, it can also stand as the main point of a sentence, but not in the function of the subject, about which something is stated, but in the function of the predicate that is stated of something. This something in the sentence analyzed here is the relationship between "estin noein" and "estin einai," between "[is] perceiving/thinking" and "[is] being." These two are the same, or, better yet: the two are bound together by an indissoluble unity. (Furthermore, it should be added that the article "to" does not refer to "einai" but to "auto." In the sixth century, an article was not yet placed in front of a verb. In Parmenides' didactic poem, where the necessity arises of expressing what we render with the infinitive of a verb together with a preceding article, a different construction is used.
This interpretation, the one I am proposing for the third fragment, was, as I recall, the object of a dispute with Heidegger. He disagreed altogether with my view of the evident meaning of the poem. I can well understand why Heidegger wanted to hold onto the idea that Parmenides' main theme was identity (to auto). In Heidegger's eyes, this would have meant that Parmenides himself would have gone beyond every metaphysical way of seeing and would thereby have anticipated a thesis that is later interpreted metaphysically in Western philosophy and has only come into its own in Heidegger's philosophy. Nevertheless, in his last Essays Heidegger himself realized that this was an error and that his thesis that Parmenides had to some extent anticipated his own philosophy could not be maintained." (pp. 110-111)
(7) das Nichtseiende.
(8) 'For the same thing exists [or, is there) for thinking and for being' (Gadamer will argue against this reading; see below); alternatively, "For thinking and being are the same."
Galgano, Nicola Stefano. 2016. "Amēkhaníē in Parmenides DK 28 B 6.5." Journal of Ancient Philosophy no. 10:1-12.
Abstract: "The paper examines closer the notion expressed by the word amēkhaníē in DK 6.5. In his analysis of problematic of knowledge Parmenides alerts about amekhaníē of mortals, a word generally translated with 'lack of resources' or 'perplexity', a kind of problem that drives the thinking astray. Scholars point out in many passages of the poem the opposition between imperfect mortals and the eidóta phōta of DK 1.3, the wise man. However, as much as I know, nobody noticed that, if mortals have a lack of resources, the goddess is teaching exactly how to fix it with a kind of method given through her precepts, which are an authentic mēchané. The paper shows that this is the genuine didactic aim of Parmenides, as he says in 1.28-30, i.e., to point out where is the error of mortals and how the wise man fixes it. Starting from a reinterpretation of 1.29 and following with the analysis of fr. 6, the paper shows that the method of fr. 2 is indeed the mēchané that can do that. Although the word is not present in the poem, it is one of its main topics. It seems (by the extant fragments) Parmenides had no clear word to call his mēchané, a psychological cognitive tool we call today principle of non-contradiction."
———. 2017. "Parmenides as Psychologist - Part One: Fragment DK 1 and 2." Archai. Revista de Estudos sobre as Origens do Pensamento Ocidental no. 19:167-205.
"The aim of this essay is to examine an aspect of Parmenides' poem which is often overlooked: the psychological grounds Parmenides uses to construct his view. While it is widely recognized by scholars that following Parmenides' view requires addressing mental activity, i.e. both the possibility of thinking the truth, as well as thinking along the wrong path that mortals follow, a closer examination of the psychological assumptions involved have, to my knowledge, not yet been attempted.
I argue that by identifying and analyzing the psychological vocabulary in his poem, it is revealed that Parmenides was a keen observer of human mental behavior. Through these psychological (perhaps “cognitivist,” following some recent categories) observations of thought processes, Parmenides gains insight into the structure of thought itself. The outcome of this inquiry reveals three notable conclusions: First, the poem contains a remarkably extensive use of strictly psychological vocabulary.
Second, the presence of this psychological material and the lack of scholarly attention to it means there is a significant aspect of Parmenides intellectual legacy that remains unexplored — Parmenides as psychologist, keen observer of human mental behavior. Furthermore, the recognition of this material helps shed important light on Parmenides' philosophical message.
Ultimately, I intend to provide an exhaustive treatment of Parmenides' psychological language, which requires close examination of DK B 1, 2, 6, and 7. Due to spatial constraints, I have divided the inquiry into two parts, and will only address DK 1-2 below." (pp. 167-168)
———. 2017. "Parmenides as Psychologist - Part Two: Fragment DK 6 and 7." Archai. Revista de Estudos sobre as Origens do Pensamento Ocidental no. 20:39-76.
For the abstract, see part One.
Gallop, David. 1979. "'Is or 'Is Not'?" The Monist no. 62:61-80.
"In this article I reopen some basic problems in the interpretation of Parmenides' 'Way of Truth' familiar to anyone who has wrestled with his poem. The hub of my discussion is fr. B2, in which the goddess formulates two 'routes of inquiry', an affirmative one — 'is', and a negative one — 'is not'. The former she commends, while the latter she rejects as 'wholly unlearnable', on the ground that 'thou couldst not know what is not, nor couldst thou point it out' (B2.7-8). What is the meaning of 'is' and 'is not' in these two routes? Is it existential, predicative, or veridical? Or should we suppose a fused notion of 'being', in which various uses of the verb είναι are somehow combined? These questions are clearly fundamental for determining the nature of the two routes, upon which everything else in the Way of Truth depends. The answer that I wish to defend is the classical interpretation of 'is' as existential. This reading of it, adopted by Professor G. E. L. Owen in his influential study, 'Eleatic Questions', (2) remains preferable, in my view, to various alternatives that have been canvassed before and since his article appeared. I shall therefore first review and criticize those alternatives. I shall then reconstruct the argument of B2-3 and B6.1-2, putting forward a modified version of Owen's account. Finally, I shall defend this version against its rivals by considering Parmenides' disproof of coming-to-be and perishing in B8.6-21." (p. 61)
(2) Classical Quarterly N.S. 10 (1960), 84-102.
Gemelli Marciano, Maria Laura. 2008. "Images and Experience: at the Roots of Parmenides' Aletheia." Ancient Philosophy no. 28:21-48.
"Another argument against the thesis that the proem is to be interpreted as an ecstatic journey lies in its connection with the rest of the poem. Kingsley 2003 has recently solved this problem, too, by linking the ecstatic experience of the proem with the goddess' teaching in the central Aletheia section of the poem so as to produce a single, coherent picture (see Gemelli Marciano 2006b [Review of Kingsley 2003 in Gnomon 78: 657-671]). Parmenides' poem is, for Kingsley, neither a purely literary 'didactic' text nor a purely philosophical one. It is an esoteric poem that describes a mystical experience and above all aims through the power of language to induce this same experience in its listeners.
In what follows I develop this approach further and show that if Parmenides' poem is interpreted in this way his enigmatic language, his curious images, and also his so-called logical arguments take on a new meaning.(14) Parmenides' language is performative (it accomplishes what it says). 'Alienation' and 'binding, are the most powerful means to remove listeners from the ordinary, everyday dimension and way of thinking and put them into a different state of consciousness.
Images, repetitions, sequences of words and sounds, supposedly 'logical' arguments all contribute to this end and have a particular meaning and function that surpass conventional human language and ordinary syntactical and semantic relationships.
Here I will draw attention especially to the proem and to fragments 2 and 8. I refer to Kingsley 2002 and 2003 for treatment of the other fragments and the problems relating to them." (pp. 26-27; note 15 omitted)
(14) I formulated some of the observations contained in this article, concerning the divine epiphanies in the proem and the images in fr. DK 28B8, some years ago independently of Kingsley 1999 and 2003, while preparing my forthcoming edition of the Presocratics (Gemelli Marciano 2008 [Die Vorsokratiker. Band II: Parmenides, Zenon, Empedokles. Düsseldorf: Artemis & Winkler.]). However, in Kingsley's books I have found the answers to questions and textual problems that have enabled me to organize my earlier unsystematic intuitions into a coherent picture.
Gershenson, Daniel E., and Greeberg, Daniel A. 1962. "Aristotle confronts the Eleatics: two arguments on 'the One'." Phronesis no. 7:137-151.
"In our review of Aristotle's two arguments against the Eleatics we have pointed out several features which mark off one from the other. The two sections are different primarily in the point of view from which each proceeds, and in the terminology each employs. Further evidence for the independence of the two passages is the following: [Physics] lines 186A34- 186B1 repeat in Eleatic jargon what lines 185A27-32 say in common Aristotelian parlance, namely, that if being is an attribute, then the subject will not be; lines 186B1 2-13 repeat the argument in lines 185A32-185B5, that if being is a magnitude, it will no longer be one, because all magnitudes are continua, and all continua by definition are divisible; lines 185B25-1 86A3 present a historical survey of Eleatic thought similar to that in lines 187A1-10, although the two passages accentuate different aspects of its later development. The evidence taken together makes it clear that we are dealing here with two independent written accounts of two separate Aristotelian attacks against Parmenides and the Eleatics. One need only compare the second argument, where the competence of the Eleatics as philosophers is not denied, and where, indeed, the fact that Aristotle carries on a dialogue with them lends them a certain respectability, with the first argument, where he spares the Eleatics no abuse and evinces contempt for their reputation as physicists and logicians, to see that this is so. Each account displays within itself a coherent organization and a consistent point of view. The two together make up Aristotle's main case against Eleatic philosophy." (pp. 150-151; notes omitted)
Giancola, Donna. 2001. "Towards a Radical Reinterpretation of Parmenides' B3." Journal of Philosophical Research no. 26:635-653.
Abstract: "It is generally agreed that Parmenides' fragment B3 posits some type of relation between "thinking" and "Being." I critically examine the modern interpretations of this relation. Beginning with the ancient sources and proceeding into modern times, I try to show that the modern rationalist reading of fragment B3 conflicts with its grammatical syntax and the context of the poem as a whole. In my critique, I suggest that rather than a statement about epistemological relations, it is, as it was originally understood, a religious assertion of metaphysical identity."
Girle, Roderic A. 2007. "Parmenides Demythologised." Logique et Analyse no. 199:253-268.
"The impression is often given that the metaphysics of Parmenides is absurd.
This impression is often reinforced with a warning that if philosophers resort to an "extreme" view then they are bound to finish with an absurd view, "like Parmenides". But all this is far too swift. I will argue that there is a way of looking at Parmenides which brings his views very much into line with the views of a substantial number of modern philosophers who are not taken to be putting forward absurd views. They might be somewhat discomforted to be grouped with Parmenides, but if they are, then that in itself should give cause to pause and consider both the issue of Parmenides' alleged absurdity and to what extent they have inherited Parmenides' problems.
So let us first reprise the views of Parmenides. Then we consider some modern doctrines which have consequences of a quite Parmenidean kind.
This will lead us to considering a contrast in the Philosophy of Time of considerable interest to Prior." (p. 253)
Glowienka, Emerine. 1988. "Exorcising the Ghost of Parmenides." Southwest Philosophical Studies no. 10:37-47.
"Yet this paper is not an attempt to offer a scholarly .analysis of Parmenides' own metaphysics; rather, it is a chronology and analysis of the subsequent history of some metaphysicians in dealing with this legacy bequeathed to them by Parmenides. This legacy, which I am calling the "ghost of Parmenides," is the confusion of our concept of "absolute being" ("abstract being") with, and/or the disengagement of this concept from, the objects of our experience. You doubtless recognize this confusion as a move from the mental to the extra-mental, which has been also named the "fallacy of misplaced concreteness" according to Whitehead.(3) For to equate being with unity is really only to describe what a concept of being must be in order for it to be intelligible to human understanding; it does not describe being as found outside that concept." (p. 37)
(3) Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (Glencoe: Free Press, 1967) 51.
Goldin, Owen. 1993. "Parmenides on Possibility and Thought." Apeiron.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science no. 26:19-35.
"Given the evidence and the nature of Parmenides' writing, it seems that Mourelatos (1979,5) is right in his suggestion that it is time for a 'tolerant pluralism' in Parmenidean scholarship. But if a definitive interpretation is beyond our reach, we may yet make progress in understanding what is to be gained or lost in the depth, cogency, and clarity of our interpretation of the whole poem when we interpret a line or an argument in one manner rather than another.
For this reason, I do not here defend a complete interpretation of what remains of Parmenides' poem. In most important respects I pursue the interpretive path taken by G.E.L. Owen ([Eleatic Questions, reprinted in] 1987a) in his highly influential interpretation of the poem. But I take issue with Owen's claim that Parmenides' argument for the existence of any object of reference or thought rests on fallacious modal logic. I also take issue with the view of Tugwell (1964) that Parmenides' argument rests on a naive and philosophically unsatisfactory blurring of the distinction between the potential and existential uses of είναι. I suggest that Parmenides' argument for the being of the object of thought and speech takes a different course. On my view, Parmenides explicitly denies that there are unreal but possible things or states of affairs, on the grounds that possible beings can be understood only as beings and hence as real. Since any object of thought or speech is a possible thing or state of affairs, any object of thought or speech is. On my view, Parmenides thus draws attention to what has come to be a perennial metaphysical problem: what status is to be given to possible beings?" (p. 19)
Graeser, Andreas. 2000. "Parmenides in Plato’s Parmenides." Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter no. 5:1-14.
Abstract: "This essay examines the role of Parmenides in Plato’s dialogue of the same name.
Over against the widely held view that this literary figure exemplifies the philosopher par excellence of an all-encompassing systematic of Eleatic provenience, it is maintained that Parmenides represents a particular frame of mind about certain philosophical matters, namely one which regards forms in a reified manner. It is suggested that by means of the literary figure of Parmenides, Plato is addressing in his dialogue inner-Academic debates about the theory of forms, especially Speusippus' conception of Unity, which betrays a kind of naive metaphysics of things, as can be seen especially in the first three deductions of the second half of the dialogue."
Graham, Daniel W. 1999. "Empedocles and Anaxagoras: Responses to Parmenides." In The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy, edited by Long, Anthony Arthur, 159-180. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
"There is no question that Parmenides' poem was a watershed in the history of early Greek philosophy. No serious thinker could ignore his work. And yet it seems to pose insuperable problems for cosmology and scientific inquiry. The first generation to follow Parmenides
includes thinkers who wished to continue the tradition of Ionian speculation. But how would they confront Parmenides? What would they make of him and what effect would his arguments have on their work? The first neo-Ionians(1), as they have been called, were Empedocles and Anaxagoras.(2) Despite some salient differences, the two philosophers have much in common in their approach. They are near contemporaries,3 and as we shall see, they make similar moves in their approach to scientific speculation. Let us first examine
the systems of Empedocles and Anaxagoras, and then discuss their responses to Parmenides." (p. 159)
(1) 1 The term is from Barnes [The Presocratic Philosophers, 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1979 in 2 vols.] (London, 1982)] ch. 15, who stresses the continuity of their project with that of early Ionian philosophers. The term aptly allows us to class philosophers of Italy and Sicily, such as Philolaus and Empedocles, with later philosophers from Ionia such as Anaxagoras.
(2) These two philosophers seem to have been active about a generation earlier than Philolaus, Archelaus, Diogenes of Apollonia, and Leucippus, and perhaps a couple of generations earlier than Democritus.
———. 2002. "Heraclitus and Parmenides." In Presocratic Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Alexander Mourelatos, edited by Caston, Victor and Graham, Daniel W., 27-44. Aldershot: Ashgate.
"The two most philosophical Presocratics propound the two most radically different philosophies: Heraclitus the philosopher of flux and Parmenides the philosopher of changelessness. Clearly they occupy opposite extremes of the philosophical spectrum. But what is their historical relation? For systematic reasons, Hegel held that Parmenides preceded Heraclitus. But in a footnote of an article published in 1850, Jacob Bernays noticed that in the passage we now know as DK 28 B 6 Parmenides could be seen as criticizing Heraclitus.(*) Bernays' insight had already been widely recognized as the key to the historical relationship between the two philosophers when Alois Patin strongly advocated the Bernays view in a monograph published in 1899. But in 1916 Karl Reinhardt reasserted the view that Heraclitus was reacting to Parmenides. Others argued that no connection. was provable. The Reinhardt view was never popular, while the Bernays-Patin view gradually came to be widely accepted. Twenty-five years ago Michael C. Stokes (One and many in Presocratic philosophy, 1971) launched a devastating attack on the view that Parmenides was replying to Heraclitus. That attack has never been answered and the Bernays-Patin thesis at present remains undefended.
In this chapter I wish to argue that the Bernays-Patin thesis is true after all. And in the process of defending it, I hope to show that accepting the thesis has some value for understanding Parmenides beyond the external question of his relation to Heraclitus. Minimally, appreciating Heraclitus' influence on Parmenides will help us understand Parmenides' argument better; but beyond that, it may help us put the whole course of early Greek philosophy in perspective. I shall first review the evidence for a connection between the philosophers (section I), then analyze the evidence for a connection (II), consider the role of historical influences in philosophical exegesis (III), and finally try to reconstruct Parmenides' dialectical opponent from his argument (IV)." (p. 27 notes omitted)
(*) In his Kleine Schriften (1885), vol. 1, pp. 62-3, n. 1.
———. 2006. Explaining the Cosmos. The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Chapter 6: Parmenides' Criticism of Ionian Philosophy, pp. 148-185.
"What connection, if any, there is between Heraclitus and Parmenides has long been disputed(1). Of the four a priori possibilities: (a) that Parmenides influenced Heraclitus, (b) that Heraclitus influenced Parmenides, (c) that the two did not know or acknowledge each other, and (d) that they are influenced by a common source, only (b) and (c) seem likely. For, contra (a), Heraclitus likes to abuse his predecessors(2), and, contra (d), he tends to radically rework the material he inherits(3). There have been, and continue to be, proponents of both (b) and (c).(4) While it seems attractive in some ways to dodge the question and thus deal only with textual certainties rather than historical contingencies, I believe that textual evidence is adequate to decide the question in favor of (b), and, moreover, to help determine the philosophical relationship between the two most philosophical Presocratics—and the two most ideologically opposed." (p. 148)
(1) The argument in this section is drawn from a longer study (Graham 2002a). The results are disputed by Nehamas 2002.
(2) Heraclitus B40, B42, B57, B81a, B106, B129. “Dieses bleiben die Ecksteine der Geschichte der Vorsokratiker: Heraklit zitiert und bekämpft Pythagoras, Xenophanes und Hekataios, nicht Parmenides; dieser zitiert und bekämpft Heraklit” (Kranz 1916, 1174).
(3) E.g., he is at pains to deny the possibility of cosmogony at B30, the one doctrine common to all his philosophical forebears.
(4) Arguments for (a) start with Hegel 1971, 319ff., followed by Zeller, and revived by Reinhardt 1916; this view has mostly been abandoned, but see Hölscher 1968, 161–65. The argument for (b) was first made by Bernays 1885, 1: 2.62, n. 1, and defended vigorously by Patin 1899; this view was accepted by Baeumker 1890, 54; Windelband 1894, 39, n. 2; Diels 1897, 68ff.; Ueberweg 1920, 1st Part: 95, 97, 99; Kranz 1916, 1934; Burnet 1930, 179-80, 183-84; Calogero 1977, 44-45; Cherniss 1935, 382–83; Vlastos 1955a, 341, n.
11, KR (tentatively) 183, 264, 272, Guthrie 1962-1981, 2.23–24; Tarán 1965; Coxon 1986; Giannantoni 1988, 218-20, and others. Diels 1897, 68, says of Bernays: “[S]eine Ansicht is fast allgemein durchgedrungen,” noting that only Zeller has resisted the interpretation; but in his revised edition of Zeller, 1919–1920, 684, n. 1, and 687, n. 1, Nestle abandons Zeller’s view as obsolete. For (c) are Gigon 1935, 31-34; Verdenius 1942; Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1959, 2.208-9; Mansfeld 1964, ch. 11; Marcovich 1965, col. 249;
Stokes 1971, 111-27.
Baeumker, Clemens. 1890. Das Problem der Materie in der griechischen Philosophie: Eine historisch-kritische Untersuchung. Munster: Aschendorff.
Bernays, Jacob. 1885 . “Heraclitea.” In Gesammelte Abhandlungen. Edited by H. Usener. Vol. 1, 1-108. Berlin: Wilhelm Herz.
Burnet, John. 1930 . Early Greek Philosophy. 4th ed. London: Adam & Charles Black.
Calogero, Guido. 1977 . Studi sull’Eleatismo. New ed. Florence: "La Nuova Italia" Editrice.
Cherniss, Harold. 1935. Aristotle’s Criticism of Presocratic Philosophy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Coxon, A. H. 1986. The Fragments of Parmenides. Assen: Van Gorcum.
Diels, Hermann. 1897. Parmenides Lehrgedicht. Berlin: Georg Reimer.
Giannantoni, Gabriele. 1988. “Le Due ‘Vie' di Parmenide.” La Parola del Passato 43: 207–21.
Gigon, Olof. 1935. Untersuchungen zu Heraklit. Leipzig.
Graham, Daniel W. 2002a. “Heraclitus and Parmenides.” In Caston and Graham 2002, 27-44.
Guthrie, W.K.C. 1962–1981. A History of Greek Philosophy. 6 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hegel, G.W.F. 1971. Werke. Edited by Eva Moldenhauer and Karl Markus Michel. Vol. 18, Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Philosophie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Hölscher, Uvo. 1968. Anfänglisches Fragen. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht.
KR = Kirk, G. S., and J. E. Raven. The Presocratic Philosophers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957.
Kranz, Walther. 1916. "Über Aufbau und Bedeutung des parmenideischen Gedichtes.” Sitzungsberichte der königlichen preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 1148-76.
Mansfeld, Jaap. 1964. Die Offenbarung des Parmenides und die menschlichen Welt. Assen: Van Gorcum.
Marcovich, Miroslav. 1965. “Herakleitos.” In Paulys Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Edited by G. Wissowa et al., Supplementband 10. Stuttgart: Druckenmüller.
Nehamas, Alexander 2002. “Parmenidean Being/Heraclitean Fire.” In Caston and Graham 2002, 45-64.
Patin, Alois. 1899. Parmenides im Kampfe gegen Heraklit. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner.
Reinhardt, Karl. 1916. Parmenides und die Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie. Bonn: Friedrich Cohen.
Stokes, Michael C. 1971. One and Many in Presocratic Philosophy. Washington: Center for Hellenic Studies.
Tarán, Leonardo. 1965. Parmenides. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Ueberweg, Friedrich. 1920. Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Edited by Karl Praechter. 1st Part. 11th ed. Berlin: Ernst Friedrich Siegfried und Sohn.
Verdenius, W. J. 1942. Parmenides: Some Comments on His Poem. Groningen: J. B. Wolters.
Vlastos, Gregory. 1955a. “On Heraclitus.” American Journal of Philology 76: 337-78.
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von. 1959 [1931–1932]. Der Glaube der Hellenen. 2 vols. 3rd ed. Basel: Benno Schwabe.
Windelband, Wilhelm. 1894. Geschichte der alten Philosophie. Munich: C. H. Beck.
Zeller, Eduard. 1919–1920. Die Philosophie der Griechen in ihrer geschichtliche Entwicklung. Edited by Wilhelm Nestle. Part 1, Vorsokratische Philosophie. 2 vols. Leipzig: O. R. Reisland.
———. 2013. Science before Socrates: Parmenides, Anaxagoras, and the New Astronomy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Chapter 3: Borrowed Light: The Insights of Parmenides, pp. 85-108.
"We began by asking a series of questions about early Greek astronomy:
1. Who discovered the theories in question first?
2. What led him to this discovery?
3. Did the two philosophers (Anaxagoras and Empedocles) have good evidence for the theories?
4. Did the community of philosophers accept the theories?
5. Did they develop the theory on their own, or did they borrow it from another source (Thales, Pythagoras, the Babylonians)?
We have at present provided at least a partial answer to two of these questions. The remarkable chain of events that began theoretical astronomy as we know probably started with the recognition of heliophotism.
This theory, or insight, derives, as far as we can tell, from Parmenides of Elea, who, writing in the early fifth century, saw that the moon's phases could be explained on the basis of the moon's position relative to the sun, supposing that the sun was the moon's source of light-just as, perhaps, it is for clouds. It is plausible to suppose that Parmenides came to this insight by himself, unaided by earlier speculations on the moon, which were unhelpful, or Babylonian data and theories, which were most likely unknown to him, and which did not, in any case, derive the moon's light from the sun. The supposition that he had a Pythagorean informant seems gratuitous.
Thus in answer to question (2): Parmenides paved the way. In partial answer to question (5): Parmenides seems to be original in his contribution to the beginnings of astronomy. As to the further development of the theory of eclipses, there is no record that Parmenides had anything to say about eclipses, even if both his predecessors and his successors did. The students of astronomy and doxographers who canvassed early studies for new theories seem to have found nothing on this topic from Parmenides. We can say in answer to ( 1) that Parmenides (and not either Anaxagoras or Empedocles) discovered the source of the moon's light; as to the explanation of eclipses, question (1) must remain open, as well as questions (3) and (4). Moreover, we will have to see what role Parmenides' insights played in the further development of early Greek astronomy. What difference does it make to know that the moon gets its light from the sun?" (pp. 107-108)
Granger, Herbert. 2002. "The Cosmology of Mortals." In Presocratic Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Alexander Mourelatos, edited by Caston, Victor and Graham, Daniel W., 101-116. Aldershot: Ashgate.
"But why could not Parmenides take up a position of the sort his successors among the pluralists adopt(49) and introduce Light and Night as primal, eternal entities, each fully real, different and underived from one another, without their being just a denser or more rarefied version of something more fundamental? This is impossible for Parmenides and the goddess as long as they take the word ‘being' to be a univocal predicate and to be what expresses the very nature of its subject. Parmenides' successors can conceive of Being as coming in a variety of forms, but not because they take ‘being' to be equivocal or believe it to be something other than a qualitative term. On these points they would be in fundamental agreement with Parmenides and the goddess. Plausibly it may be argued that the pluralists who follow Parmenides are in a position to recognize the possibility of a qualitative heterogeneity within an existential homogeneity, because they take ‘being' to be more like a generic than a specific term in its descriptive role, and thus they may take Being to be more like a determinable than a determinate in its nature. This would then put them in a position to maintain that Being may come in a variety of different sorts within a single conception of what it is to be.
The pathway to a cosmology of the post-Parmenidean sort is closed to the goddess and her disciple Parmenides. The goddess holds out no hope for any sort of cosmology, and she is in no position to appreciate or to anticipate the pluralism of the successors of Parmenides. The goddess should be taken, then, at her word when she warns that the order of her words on mortal opinions is deceptive. The cosmology of mortals is nothing more than a deception, which deceives by giving the appearance of reality without yielding its substance, and there is no reason to search for something more than mere deception in the deceptive words of the goddess upon the cosmos." (pp. 114-115)
(49) For example, Anaxagoras (B 5, B 17); Empedocles (B 17.27-35, B 6, B 8, B 9). On both of them, see Aristotle, Ph. 1.4, 187a22-b7. It is commonly held that Parmenides' successors presume a plurality without any argument. For example, Malcolm observes this of Empedocles and Anaxagoras, ["On avoiding the void", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 9, 75-94] 1991, pp. 92-3, and Curd of the atomists as well, [Parmenidean monism] 1991, p. 261, and Curd [The Legacy of Parmenides], 1998, pp. 64-5, 129-31. Curd takes their lack of an argument to indicate that none was needed because Parmenides did not deny a plurality, since he was not a ‘numerical monist' who held that a single entity constitutes reality. Curd charges that Parmenides' successors would have been remiss in their philosophical duty if they had presumed a plurality in the face of any argument by Parmenides against it. Yet even if the successors of Parmenides offered no argument for plurality, this need not indicate that Parmenides did not argue against plurality and that his successors in their presumption of plurality were not philosophically responsible. Parmenides' successors may have understood their charge to be the development of a compromise between the demands of his argument and those of common sense, in which the demands of these two extremes must be satisfied as much as possible without any hope that all of them would receive satisfaction.
———. 2008. "The Proem of Parmenides' Poem." Ancient Philosophy no. 28:1-20.
"The paper defends the view that the Proem of Parmenides' poem is a secular allegory. At the allegory's center is the unnamed goddess who in the body of the poem instructs the unnamed youth, through her use of a priori argumentation, about the nature of reality. The goddess provides the very symbol for a priori reason, and a central feature of Parmenides' expression of this symbolic value for the goddess is his confused presentation of her in the Proem. His presentation is intentionally vague, and it defies any definitive interpretation that clearly identifies the classification of the goddess and her circumstances within traditional or unconventional Greek religious belief. Instead, she recalls in an confusing fashion traditional revelatory goddesses, of whom the Muses and cult goddesses provide paradigm instances. Hence the youth's journey in the Proem to the unnamed goddess leads to no clearly identifiable circumstances, yet what it arrives at is still bound up within the medium of the standard epic style. Parmenides uses the old idea of the revelatory goddess in this unexpected way to try to show how it harbors something like the exercise of a priori reason. The reflection of the a priori does not reside merely in the similarity that the Muses bestow knowledge, which lies beyond the limited powers of human observation, about past, present, and future. The similarity is stronger and more significant when the Muses grant knowledge that lies beyond their own powers of observation in the form of insights into events they could not have possibly witnessed, such as the birth of the gods. Parmenides picks his unnamed goddess for his symbol for a priori reason because he takes himself to be demythologizing the philosophical truth reflected in a distorted fashion within the tradition of divine revelation. By placing a priori reason in the garb of the revelatory goddess who appears in a puzzling form, Parmenides indicates to his audience that this use of the power of reason has its antecedents in traditional practices that did not recognize this power for its true nature. There is a value in the tradition of divine revelation, which transcends the fictions of the poets in their story-telling, but revelatory deities must now step aside for the clear expression of the power of a priori reason. Hence the goddess abdicates her authority when she demands that the youth judge her words by his logos. Parmenides' verse conforms with his symbolic use of the goddess. It helps him mark his difference from his competitors among the new intellectuals, the so-called `natural philosophers', who generally favor prose over verse. These intellectuals abandoned the Muses and their gift of verse, and they aspire to cosmologies that depend for their justification upon observation and inductive arguments that appeal to analogies and inferences to the best explanation. Verse as the medium of the Muses allows Parmenides to stress in a literary fashion how he adheres to a mode of thinking that does not rely upon the power of observation for the truth." (p. 1)
———. 2010. "Parmenides of Elea: rationalist or dogmatist?" Ancient Philosophy no. 30:15-38.
"Parmenides of Elea is often lauded as a major figure of Western philosophy because he is the first to give an extensive role in his speculation to a priori argumentation.
In his poem we find for the first time in history sustained rational argumentation for the establishment of a complex metaphysical doctrine. Parmenides does not merely dictate to his audience a set of doctrines about reality, but, instead, undertakes to support his doctrines by means of logical inferences based on premises that have some claim to plausibility or self-evidence or a priori justification. This evaluation of PParmenides'accomplishment is not without its detractors, however. Kingsley has mounted a vigorous challenge to the presumption that Parmenides relies on argument for his opinions about reality, and recently Gemelli Marciano has significantly buttressed Kingsley's case by furthering his ideas in her detailed comments on Parmenides' poem. Kingsley and Gemelli Marciano maintain that Parmenides is a dogmatic mystic who depends for his dogmas entirely upon what he learns from divine revelation and that he makes no serious effort 10 defend his mystical beliefs by genuine argumentation.
In fact, reasoned argument not only cannot discover the truth, it provides an impediment that muse be transcended or suppressed." (p. 15; notes omitted)
Gregory, Andrew. 2014. "Parmenides, Cosmology and Sufficient Reason." Apeiron.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science no. 47:16-47.
Abstract: Why Parmenides had a cosmology is a perennial puzzle, if, as the ‘truth' part of his poem appears to claim, what exists is one, undifferentiated, timeless and unchanging.1 Indeed, not only does the cosmological part of the poem tell us how the cosmos is arranged, it also tells us how the cosmos, humans and animals all came into being. Although more of the truth has survived, the cosmology originally made up some 2/3 to 3/4 of the poem. The poem claims it will give the ‘complete ordering' and Parmenides is perceived to have ‘completed all the phenomena'.3 Parmenides also seems to have made some important original contributions to cosmology. These I take to be important facts which any explanation of the nature of this cosmology must account for. The aim of this paper is to explore a new suggestion for the status of the cosmology, that it may be equalled but not surpassed by other cosmologies which are capable of accounting for all of the phenomena. Its function, I argue, is to raise sufficient reason issues about some fundamental questions in cosmogony and cosmology. I will also argue that we can find sufficient reason considerations relating to cosmogony and cosmology in the truth part of the poem. This opens the possibility that it is at least in part issues of sufficient
reason that link the two parts of the poem. Finally I will argue that by paying close attention to what Parmenides has to say about signs, σήματα, we can see how he leaves open the possibility of making positive contributions to cosmology.
I believe this gives us a richer account of Parmenides, places him more firmly in the debates of presocratic cosmology and cosmogony and gives him interesting relations to his predecessors and successors. These sufficient reason considerations may work both as a critique of contemporary cosmogony and cosmology and a challenge to any future cosmogony and cosmology. (pp. 16-17; notes omitted)
Groarke, Leo. 1985. "Parmenides' Timeless Universe." Dialogue no. 24:535-541.
"In his recent collection of Parmenides' fragments,(1) David Gallop joins a number of commentators ( among them, Tarán(2) and Stokes(3) ) who argue against the view that fragment 8 contains a commitment to a reality which is "timeless" or "atemporal". His arguments seem to me convincing if one adopts Owen's view(4) that timelessness is a result of indistinguishable phases of existence. Gallop's arguments could decide the issue if this was, as Tarán suggests, "the only reason to maintain that Being is a non-temporal entity".(5) There is, however, an alternative way to defend the atemporal interpretation, though it has not been elaborated in any detail.(6) If I am not mistaken, it can elude Gallop's criticisms and provide a more plausible account of Parmenides' philosophy.(7)"
(1) Parmenides of Elea, Fragments, a Text and Translation with an Introduction by David Gallop (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984), 13-16. For good reason, the book is sure to become the standard reference for years to come.
(2) Leonardo Tarán, Parmenides: A Text with Translation, Commentary, and Critical Essays (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965), 175-181.
(3) Michael C. Stokes, One and Many in Presocratic Philosophy (Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, 1971), 127-137.
(4) See G. E. L. Owen, "Plato and Parmenides on the Timeless Present", in A. P. D. Mourelatos. ed. The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays (Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1974). I cannot discuss Owen's views in detail here.
(5) Tarán, Parmenides. 181.
(6) For interpretations of Parmenides' similar to the one that I suggest, see the following: W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965), 29: Felix M. Cleve, The Giants of Pre-Sophistic Greek Philosophy: An Attempt to Reconstruct their Thought (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 1965), 531; and Peter Geach, Providence and Evil (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). 53-54. None of these authors develops a detailed interpretation.
(7) The question of Parmenides' view of time (exemplified by disputes over fragment 8.5) is a thorny one. In G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven, and M. Schofield, The Presocratic Philosophers (2nd ed.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), Schofield writes, for
example, that "Probably what Parmenides means to ascribe to what is is existence in an eternal present not subject to temporal distinctions of any sort. It is very unclear how he hoped to ground this conclusion in the arguments of [fragment 8]... ." If the account
I suggest is correct, this conclusion is neither surprising nor difficult to understand.
———. 1987. "Parmenides' Timeless Universe, Again." Dialogue no. 26:549-552.
"In a recent discussion note,(1) Mohan Matthen criticizes my claim that Parmenides is committed to an atemporal reality. I shall argue that his critique misrepresents by views , misunderstands Parmenides , and is founded on a capricious view of h1stoncal interpretation."
"The key to my account is the suggestion that Parmenides rejection of what does not exist entails the rejection of the past and future, for they do not exist (because the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist). This is, I think, the most plausible interpretation of Parmenides claim that what is "neither was ... once nor will be, since it is now" (8.5, cf. my previous discussion of 8.19-20). It follows that sentences cannot meaningfully refer to the past and future, for we cannot refer to what is not (8.8)."
(1) Mohan Matthen, "A Note on Parmenides' Denial of Past and Future ", Dialogue 25/3 (1986), 553-557.
Guthrie, William Keith Chambers. 1965. A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. II: The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
See the First Chapter: The Eleatics. Parmenides - pp. 1-79.
"Presocratic philosophy is divided into two halves by the name of Parmenides. His exceptional powers of reasoning brought speculation about the origin and constitution of the universe to a halt, and caused it to make a fresh start on different lines. Consequently his chronological position relative to other early philosophers is comparatively easy to determine. Whether or not he directly attacked Heraclitus, (1) had Heraclitus known of Parmenides it is incredible that he would not have denounced him along with Xenophanes and others. Even if ignorance of an Elean on the part of an Ephesian is no sure evidence of date, philosophically Heraclitus must be regarded as pre-Parmenidean, whereas Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus and Democritus are equally certainly post-Parmenidean." (p. 1)
(1) See vol. 1, 408 n. 2 and pp. 23 ff., 32 below.
"The poem of Parmenides raises peculiar problems, and it will be as well to approach the text with the chief of these already in mind. In the prologue he receives from a goddess the promise that she will reveal to him two sorts of information: first the truth about reality, then the opinions of mortals, which are unambiguously said to be false. 'Nevertheless these too shall thou learn' (fr. 1.31). In conformity with this, the first part of the poem deduces the nature of reality from premises asserted to be wholly true, and leads among other things to the conclusion that the world as perceived by the senses is unreal. At this point (fr. 8.50) the goddess solemnly declares that she ceases to speak the truth, and the remainder of the instruction will be 'deceitful'; yet she will impart it all 'that no judgment of men may outstrip thee'. Then follows the second part of the poem consisting of a cosmology on traditional lines. Starting from the assumption of a pair of opposites, 'fire' and 'night' or light and darkness, it proceeds as a narrative of an evolutionary process in time. The 'true way', on the other hand, had asserted that reality was, and must be, a unity in the strictest sense and that any change in it was impossible: there is no before or after, and the exposition unfolds as a timeless series of logical deductions.
Here is the crux. Why should Parmenides take the trouble to narrate a detailed cosmogony when he has already proved that opposites cannot exist and there can be no cosmogony because plurality and change are inadmissible conceptions? Has it in his eyes no merit or validity whatsoever, so that his purpose in composing it is only to show it up, together with all such attempts at cosmogony, for the hollow shams that they are? If so, the further question arises: what is it? Some have thought it to be based on a particular cosmic system of which he disapproved, for instance that of Heraclitus or the Pythagoreans. Others have suggested, following up the goddess's own words about the 'opinions of mortals' in general, that it is partly or wholly intended as a synthesis of what the ordinary man believed about the world; others again that it is an original production, indeed the best that Parmenides could devise, but still intended to show that even the most plausible account of the origin and nature of the sensible world is utterly false. These critics point to the motive expressed by the goddess, 'that no judgment of mortals may outstrip (or get the better of) thee'.
An alternative is to suppose that Parmenides is doing his best for the sensible world, perhaps on practical grounds, by giving as coherent an account of it as he can, saying in effect: I have told you the truth, so that if I go on to speak about the world in which we apparently live you will know it is unreal and not be taken in. But after all, this is how it does appear to us; however misleading our senses may be, we must eat and drink and talk, avoid putting our hand in the fire or falling over a precipice, live in short as if their information were genuine. Being ourselves mortals we must come to terms with this deceitful show, and I can at least help you to understand it better than other people.
These are the most baffling problems which Parmenides presents: the nature of the 'Way of Seeming' and the relation between it and the 'Way of Truth'. Yet the essence of his remarkable achievement lies, as might be expected, within the Way of Truth itself. " (pp. 4-6)