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Parmenides of Elea (/pɑːrˈmɛnɪdz ...ˈɛliə/; Greek: Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; fl. late sixth or early fifth century BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Elea in Magna Graecia (meaning "Great Greece," the term which Romans gave to Greek-populated coastal areas in Southern Italy). He is thought to have been in his prime (or "floruit") around 475 BC.[a]

Parmenides has been considered the founder of metaphysics or ontology and has influenced the whole history of Western philosophy.[5][b] He was the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, which also included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos. Zeno's paradoxes of motion were to defend Parmenides' view.

The single known work by Parmenides is a poem whose original title is unknown but which is often referred to as On Nature. Only fragments of it survive, but its importance lies in the fact that it contains the first sustained argument in the history of Western philosophy. In his poem, Parmenides prescribes two views of reality. In "the way of truth" (a part of the poem), he explains how all reality is one, change is impossible, and existence is timeless, uniform, and necessary. In "the way of opinion", Parmenides explains the world of appearances, in which one's sensory faculties lead to conceptions which are false and deceitful, yet he does offer a cosmology.

Parmenides' philosophy has been explained with the slogan "whatever is is, and what is not cannot be". He is also credited with the phrase out of nothing nothing comes. He argues that "A is not" can never be thought or said truthfully, and thus despite appearances everything exists as one, giant, unchanging thing. This is generally considered one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of being, and has been contrasted with Heraclitus's statement that "No man ever steps into the same river twice" as one of the first digressions into the philosophical concept of becoming. Scholars have generally believed that either Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides.

Parmenides' views have remained relevant in philosophy, even thousands of years after his death. Alexius Meinong, much like Parmenides, defended the view that even the "golden mountain" is real since it can be talked about. The rivalry between Heraclitus and Parmenides has also been re-introduced in debates in the philosophy of time between A theory and B theory.

InterpretationsThe traditional interpretation of Parmenides' work is that he argued that the every-day perception of reality of the physical world (as described in doxa) is mistaken, and that the reality of the world is 'One Being' (as described in aletheia): an unchanging, ungenerated, indestructible whole. Under the Way of Opinion, Parmenides set out a contrasting but more conventional view of the world, thereby becoming an early exponent of the duality of appearance and reality. For him and his pupils, the phenomena of movement and change are simply appearances of a changeless, eternal reality.

Parmenides was not struggling to formulate the laws of conservation of mass and conservation of energy; he was struggling with the metaphysics of change, which is still a relevant philosophical topic today. Moreover, he argued that movement was impossible because it requires moving into "the void", and Parmenides identified "the void" with nothing, and therefore (by definition) it does not exist. That which does exist is The Parmenidean One.

Since existence is an immediately intuited fact, non-existence is the wrong path because a thing cannot disappear, just as something cannot originate from nothing. In such mystical experience (unio mystica), however, the distinction between subject and object disappears along with the distinctions between objects, in addition to the fact that if nothing cannot be, it cannot be the object of thought either:

William

Parmenides was not struggling to formulate the laws of conservation of mass and conservation of energy; he was struggling with the metaphysics of change, which is still a relevant philosophical topic today. Moreover, he argued that movement was impossible because it requires moving into "the void", and Parmenides identified "the void" with nothing, and therefore (by definition) it does not exist. That which does exist is The Parmenidean One.

Since existence is an immediately intuited fact, non-existence is the wrong path because a thing cannot disappear, just as something cannot originate from nothing. In such mystical experience (unio mystica), however, the distinction between subject and object disappears along with the distinctions between objects, in addition to the fact that if nothing cannot be, it cannot be the object of thought either:

William Smith also wrote in Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology:

On the former reason is our guide; on the latter the eye that does not catch the object and re-echoing hearing. On the former path we convince ourselves that the existent neither has come into being, nor is perishable, and is entirely of one sort, without change and limit, neither past nor future, entirely included in the present. For it is as impossible that it can become and grow out of the existent, as that it could do so out of the non-existent; since the latter, non-existence, is absolutely inconceivable, and the former cannot precede itself; and every coming into existence presupposes a non-existence. By similar arguments divisibility, motion or change, as also infinity, are shut out from the absolutely existent, and the latter is represented as shut up in itself, so that it may be compared to a well-rounded ball; while thought is appropriated to it as its only positive definition. Thought and that which is thought of (Object) coinciding; the corresponding passages of Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and others, which authenticate this view of his theory.[16]

The religious/mystical context of the poem has caused recent generations of scholars such as Peter Kingsley and M. Laura Gemelli Marciano to call parts of the traditional, rational logical/philosophical interpretation of Parmenides into question (Kingsley in particular stating that Parmenides practiced iatromancy). The philosophy was, he says, given to him by a goddess. It has been claimed that previous scholars placed too little emphasis on the apocalyptic context in which Parmenides frames his revelation. As a result, traditional interpretations have put Parmenidean philosophy into a more modern, metaphysical context to which it is not necessarily well suited, which has led to misunderstanding of the true meaning and intention of Parmenides' message. The obscurity and fragmentary state of the text, however, renders almost every claim that can be made about Parmenides extremely contentious, and the traditional interpretation has by no means been abandoned. The "mythological" details in Parmenides' poem do not bear any close correspondence to anything known from traditional Greek mythology:

One issue is the grammar. In the original Greek the two ways are simply named "that Is" (ὅπως ἐστίν) and "that Not-Is" (ὡς οὐκ ἐστίν) (B 2.3 and 2.5) without the "it" inserted in our English translation. In ancient Greek, which, like many languages in the world, does not always require the presence of a subject for a verb, "is" functions as a grammatically complete sentence. Much debate has been focused on where and what the subject is. The simplest explanation as to why there is no subject here is that Parmenides wishes to express the simple, bare fact of existence in his mystical experience without the ordinary distinctions, just as the Latin "pluit" and the Greek huei (ὕει "rains") mean "it rains"; there is no subject for these impersonal verbs because they express the simple fact of raining without specifying what is doing the raining. This is, for instance, Hermann Fränkel's thesis.[26] Many scholars still reject this explanation and have produced more complex metaphysical explanations.

There is the possibility for various wrong translations of the fragments. For example, it is not at all clear that Parmenides refuted that which we call perception. The verb noein, used frequently by Parmenides, could better be translated as 'to be aware of' than as 'to think'. Furthermore, it is hard to believe that 'being' is

There is the possibility for various wrong translations of the fragments. For example, it is not at all clear that Parmenides refuted that which we call perception. The verb noein, used frequently by Parmenides, could better be translated as 'to be aware of' than as 'to think'. Furthermore, it is hard to believe that 'being' is only within our heads, according to Parmenides.

John Anderson Palmer notes "Parmenides’ distinction among the principal modes of being and his derivation of the attributes that must belong to what must be, simply as such, qualify him to be seen as the founder of metaphysics or ontology as a domain of inquiry distinct from theology."[5]

Parmenides' considerable influence on the thinking of Plato is undeniable, and in this respect, Parmenides has influenced the whole history of Western philosophy, and is often seen as its grandfather. In Plato's dialogue, the Sophist, the main speaker (an unnamed character from Parmenides' hometown, Elea) refers to the work of "our Father Parmenides" as something to be taken very seriously and treated with respect.[27] In the Parmenides, Parmenides and Socrates argue about dialectic. In the Theaetetus, Socrates says that Parmenides alone among the wise (P

Parmenides' considerable influence on the thinking of Plato is undeniable, and in this respect, Parmenides has influenced the whole history of Western philosophy, and is often seen as its grandfather. In Plato's dialogue, the Sophist, the main speaker (an unnamed character from Parmenides' hometown, Elea) refers to the work of "our Father Parmenides" as something to be taken very seriously and treated with respect.[27] In the Parmenides, Parmenides and Socrates argue about dialectic. In the Theaetetus, Socrates says that Parmenides alone among the wise (Protagoras, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Epicharmus, and Homer) denied that everything is change and motion.[28] "Even the censorious Timon allows Parmenides to have been a high-minded man; while Plato speaks of him with veneration, and Aristotle and others give him an unqualified preference over the rest of the Eleatics."[16]

He is credited with a great deal of influence as the author of this "Eleatic challenge" or "Parmenides problem" that determined the course of subsequent philosophers' inquiries. For example, the ideas of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, and Democritus have been seen as in response to Parmenides' arguments and conclusions.[d] According to Aristotle, Democritus and Leucippus, and many other physicists,[30] proposed the atomic theory, which supposes that everything in the universe is either atoms or voids, specifically to contradict Parmenides' argument.[e] Karl Popper wrote:

So what was really new in Parmenides was his axiomatic-deductive method, which Leucippus and Democritus turned into a hypothetical-deductive method, and thus made part of scientific methodology.[31]

Alexius Meinong, much like Parmenides, believed that while anything which can be spoken of meaningfully may not "exist", it must still "subsist" and therefore have being. Bertrand Russell famously responded to this view when he proposed a solution to the problem of negative existentials in "On Denoting", as did W.V.O. Quine in his "On What There Is".

A view anal

A view analogous to Parmenides with respect to time can be seen in the B theory of time and the concept of Block time, which considers existence to consist of past, present, and future, and the flow of time to be illusory. In his critique of this idea, Popper called Einstein "Parmenides".[32]

His proto-monism of the One also influenced Plotinus and Neoplatonism against the third century AD background of Hellenistic philosophy, thus influencing many later Jewish, Christian, and Muslim thinkers of the Middle Ages as well.

Parmenides' influence on philosophy reaches up until present times. The Italian philosopher Emanuele Severino has founded his extended philosophical investigations on the words of Parmenides. His philosophy is sometimes called Neo Parmenideism, and can be understood as an attempt to build a bridge between the poem on truth and the poem on opinion. He also studies non-being, so-called meontology.

Erwin Schrödinger identified Parmenides' monad of the "Way of Truth" as being the conscious self in "Nature and the Greeks".[33] The scientific implications of this view have been discussed by scientist Anthony Hyman.

Parmenides is a character in Giannina Braschi's postcolonial comic tragedy United States of Banana, the final section of which is composed of Socratic dialogues and features Parmenides, Diotima, and Alcibiades discussing love, liberty, and gratitude.[34][35] Parmenides is a standing figure that appears in the painting The School of Athens (1509-1511) by Raphael. The painting was commissioned to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.[36][37] In comic strips: Parmenides has been spoofed in several comic strips in the series Existential Comics, including one on the topic of discipline in the office.[38][39]

See also