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Zeno of Elea


Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of southern Italy and a member of the Eleatic school founded by Parmenides.
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Zeno of Elea
In this capricious world nothing is more capricious than posthumous fame. One of the most notable victims of posterity's lack of judgement is the Eleatic Zeno. Having invented four arguments all immeasurably subtle and profound, the grossness of subsequent philosophers pronounced him to be a mere ingenious juggler, and his arguments to be one and all sophisms. After two thousand years of continual refutation, these sophisms were reinstated, and made the foundation of a mathematical renaissance, by a German professor, who probably never dreamed of any connexion between himself and Zeno. Weierstrass, by strictly banishing all infinitesimals, has at last shown that we live in an unchanging world, and that the arrow at every moment of its flight is truly at rest.
Zeno of Elea quotes
It is said that he attempted to deliver his country from the tyranny of Nearchus. His plot was discovered, and he was exposed to (he most excruciating torments to reveal the names of his accomplices; but this be bore with unparalleled fortitude, and, not to be at last conquered by tortures, he cut off his tongue with his teeth, and spit it into the face of the tyrant. Some say that he was pounded alive in a mortar, and that in the midst of his torments he called to Nearchus, as if to reveal something of importance; the tyrant approached him, and Zeno, as if willing to whisper to him, caught his ear with his teeth, and bit it off.
Zeno of Elea
The followers of Heraclitus insisted the Immortal Principle was change and motion. But Parmenides' disciple, Zeno, proved through a series of paradoxes that any perception of motion and change is illusory. Reality had to be motionless.




Zeno of Elea quotes
If I accede to Parmenides there is nothing left but the One; if I accede to Zeno, not even the One is left.
Zeno of Elea
Zeno of Elea, 5th c. B.C. thinker, is known exclusively for propounding a number of ingenious paradoxes. The most famous of these purport to show that motion is impossible by bringing to light apparent or latent contradictions in ordinary assumptions regarding its occurrence. Zeno also argued against the commonsense assumption that there are many things by showing in various ways how it, too, leads to contradiction. We may never know just what led Zeno to develop his famous paradoxes. While it is typically said that he aimed to defend the paradoxical monism of his Eleatic mentor, Parmenides, the Platonic evidence on which this view has resided ultimately fails to support it. Since Zeno's arguments in fact tend to problematize the application of quantitative conceptions to physical bodies and to spatial expanses as ordinarily conceived, the paradoxes may have originated in reflection upon Pythagorean efforts to apply mathematical notions to the natural world. Zeno's paradoxes have had a lasting impact through the attempts, from Aristotle down to the present day, to respond to the problems they raise.
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