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Parmenides


Ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Greek city on the southern coast of Italy, and founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy.
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Parmenides
One cannot say that the case for Parmenides is proved. If it is accepted, it is a strange freak of history that so fundamental a discovery should have been made by one for whom the whole physical world was an unreal show.
Parmenides quotes
There is one story left, one road: that it is. And on this road there are very many signs that, being, is uncreated and imperishable, whole, unique, unwavering, and complete.
Parmenides
If I accede to Parmenides there is nothing left but the One; if I accede to Zeno, not even the One is left.




Parmenides quotes
Parmenides made it clear for the first time that the Immortal Principle, the One, Truth, God, is separate from appearance and from opinion, and the importance of this separation and its effect upon subsequent history cannot be overstated. It's here that the classic mind, for the first time, took leave of its romantic origins and said, "The Good and the True are not necessarily the same," and goes its separate way. Anaxagoras and Parmenides had a listener named Socrates who carried their ideas into full fruition.
Parmenides
What is clear is that Parmenides is making a conscious attempt at some kind of a new start. Like Descartes, he is trying to find an unassailable starting-point on which something further can be built. This search is understandable, given the intellectual situation of the time. The principles of the Milesians had yielded no one clearly true system, but a number of rival ones in itself a scandal. Heraclitus had made the whole of cosmology suspect by revealing deep-seated contradictions at its heart. In the background, the Pythagoreans were directly or indirectly stimulating new lines of thought and using them, perhaps, for their own mysterious purposes.
Parmenides quotes
One of Parmenides' merits is to have been the first philosopher who strove to handle general concepts like "being", "not-being", "knowing", "unity", "identity", in their systematic connection.
Parmenides
From this inheritance contemporary philosophers have continued to draw profit. Parmenides is their earliest ancestor whose work contains explicit and self-conscious argumentation. The severe conceptual difficulties posed for the first time in his verses are of perennial interest, and many of them remain in the forefront of discussion today. Recent study has thus brought his thought, in the words of another critic, "astonishingly close to some contemporary preoccupations." He should be viewed not only as "the most original and important philosopher before Socrates" but as the first extant author deserving to be called a philosopher in a present-day sense of the word.
Parmenides quotes
The truth is, that these writings of mine were meant to protect the arguments of Parmenides against those who make fun of him and seek to show the many ridiculous and contradictory results which they suppose to follow from the affirmation of the one. My answer is addressed to the partisans of the many, whose attack I return with interest by retorting upon them that their hypothesis of the being of many, if carried out, appears to be still more ridiculous than the hypothesis of the being of one.
Parmenides
It was, for all I know, the first deductive theory of the world, the first deductive cosmology: One further step led to theoretical physics, and to the atomic theory.
Parmenides
Never will this prevail, that the things that are not are bar your thought from this road of inquiry.
Parmenides
The crisis at the heart of Parmenides' argument, "is or is not," rules out any candidate for an ultimate entity in an explanation of what there is that is subject to coming-to-be, passing-away, or alteration of any sort. Such an entity must be a whole, complete, unchanging unity: it must be a thing that is of a single kind ... But it does not follow from this that there can be only one such entity. Parmenides' arguments allow for a plurality of fundamental, predicationally unified entities that can be used to explain the world reported by the senses.




Parmenides quotes
As Parmenides categorically threw out all observation with the senses, so this student of philosophy is inclined to throw out Parmenides as a complete waste of time! His static theories denying motion and change were in direct antithesis to the Kinetic metaphysics of Heracleitus, and his depressing monism was later refuted by the atomists Democritus and Leucippus. In a nutshell; in a word; Parmenides is Pah! and definitely not a philosopher to take to bed with you on a long winter evening! ... Personally speaking the whole thing makes me shudder although I do acknowledge that paradoxes and riddles are very popular with the average thirteen-year-old school boy.
Zeno however, impressed his dialectical ability on Socrates, who then began turning it loose on the average citizen in the Agora (market-place) and in consequence made himself most unpopular. I only think that it is a pity that when they asked Socrates to drink the hemlock in 399 B.C., they didn' t include Zeno and Parmenides in the invitation.
Parmenides
The purest example of the Greek desire to comprehend, a desire which in him would have nothing to do with what was not strictly knowable. If later philosophers appear softer by comparison, it is perhaps because of a revivifying compromise they made, one more acceptable and more tolerant of the discourse we perhaps need; but, by the same token, one can perhaps be forgiven for sometimes thinking them dwarfed by the inhuman shadow of the master.
Parmenides quotes
The only roads of enquiry there are to think of: one, that it is and that it is not possible for it not to be, this is the path of persuasion (for truth is its companion); the other, that it is not and that it must not be this I say to you is a path wholly unknowable.
Parmenides
You must learn all things, both the unshaken heart of persuasive truth, and the opinions of mortals in which there is no true warranty.
Parmenides quotes
It is indifferent to me where I am to begin, for there shall I return again.
Parmenides
Do not let habit, born from experience, force you along this road, directing aimless eye and echoing ear and tongue; but judge by reason the much contested proof which I have spoken.
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