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- The Legacy of Parmenides: Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic Thought
- Patricia Curd, The Legacy of Parmenides: Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic Thought - PhilPapers
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Mitchell Miller Patricia Curd. Princeton University Press, Curd confronts a puzzle in early Greek philosophy. Did they simply fail to understand it?
This major new proposal will be of compelling interest to all scholars of the presocratics. Some possible limitations and basic questions to consider:. There are significant regions of the proem, of presocratic thought, and of modern commentary yet to be examined. B9, crucial to interpreting the error of mortals at B8. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.
View freely available titles: Now we turn to the following chapters of the book, although space restrictions do not allow us to examine them in the detail they undoubtedly deserve. In her own words, "the Doxa would yield a rationally grounded cosmology if the basic entities of such a theory met the criteria of B8 for what-is", and "Parmenides' model cosmology, based on a set of basic realities that mix and separate, was just as influential on those Presocratics who came after him as were his arguments about what-is" 6.
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The relationship between the two main parts of the poem, the Aletheia and the Doxa, is discussed at some length, and five basic puzzles in interpreting them are formulated on pp. The second section of the chapter discusses the opposite forms first of all, Light-Night, interpreted as a dualism of oppositions.
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It becomes clear that the dualism of the Doxa, if it is interpreted simply as a plurality of theoretically fundamental entities, is thus not in principle incompatible with the argument of the Aletheia There is no part of the cosmos that is neither light nor night and thus not infected with enantiomorphic oppositions.
Therefore, according to C.
In the rest of the chapter C. This helps us understand the importance of the second part of the poem: Chapter IV is devoted to the Parmenidean influence on the metaphysical foundations of pluralism. It specifically focuses on the nature of things chremata in Anaxagoras, the four roots in Empedocles, and Zeno's arguments concerning division. Parmenides influenced the pluralists' theories in two fundamental aspects: Establishing the chronology, C.
Generally speaking, the first part of the book, dedicated to Parmenides, is cemented by a strict schema and logic of argumentation, while what follows looks less structured, perhaps inevitably.
The Legacy of Parmenides: Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic Thought
This is particularly true, to my mind, of the long section on Anaxagoras , where C. The Parmenidean influence on Empedocles looks even more doubtful, which C.
But why are Love and Strife basic ontological entities, as C. The claim is not supported by the extant sources, and it seems more appropriate to understand them in terms of the archai rather than entities. Moreover, they appear to be acting archai , which allows for distinguishing, after Anaxagoras, between the properties of archai and those of entities.
A shorter section on Zeno is more coherent. We have three pictures of Zeno: Zeno the Sophist; Zeno the "pure dialectician, caring little for truth, but only for the force of paradoxical argument" ; and Zeno as "a serious philosopher, who will follow an argument where it leads, and this means that he may well have discovered and raised difficulties about Parmenides' views that Parmenides himself had not yet seen" The analysis ends with the suggestion that Eleatism was not a monolithic philosophical view but one that allows for differences of shade and even doctrine The problem of the nature of void and other relevant matters are examined in Chapter V, on Leucippus and Democritus.
Patricia Curd, The Legacy of Parmenides: Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic Thought - PhilPapers
It is argued at the outset that the Atomists conceived of both atoms and void as entities that have unchanging and knowable characters or natures of their own, thus satisfying the Parmenidean criteria for what-is. Despite serious differences, C. The later Presocratics accept the argument that change is merely apparent and not real but that nevertheless the phenomenal world can be the subject of rational explanation, except for Melissus, the last of the Eleatics, who goes beyond Parmenides in arguing that pluralism itself is incompatible with the correct account of what-is and that, in any case, pluralistic theories cannot successfully account for the world reported to us by our senses.
Melissus develops his variant of monism, described by C.
Working in a post-Parmenidean intellectual context, Melissus criticizes the Atomists. And, in turn, "Atomism developed as a response to a cluster of Eleatic problems, including Parmenides' account of the nature of what-is, Zeno's arguments about division, and Melissus's concerns to deny the empty and to challenge Pluralist theories of mixture.
There is a sense in which it is not surprising that the Atomists should give such an answer to Melissus's argument" Charter VI 'Final Remarks' contains a brief discussion of Philolaus and Diogenes of Apollonia and a more detailed account of the influence of Parmenides' monism on Plato. An analysis of numbers and harmonia as genuine basic entities would be interesting in this context, but C. Indeed, it would be relevant not only in the context of the question whether Philolaus' epistemological principles satisfy the Parmenidean criteria of what-is but also in view of the Pythagorean background of Parmenides.
Thus, she concludes that the Platonic system too is a part of the legacy of Parmenides. She suggests that one should not perceive the person portrayed therein as a historical figure, bearing in mind that "the purpose of the dialogue is to explore and to criticize certain aspects of Plato's Theory of Forms, especially the relation of participation, and the conception of Forms at work in the theory" To sum up, the book offers a very detailed and intelligent analysis of Parmenides and the later Presocratics.
The fragments, rendered in English by C.
Surely some of her claims cannot be accepted as they stand, partly because they highly complicate our perception of the early philosophical tradition. The book is very well produced; I noticed no typographical errors. It is a must for any serious researcher of early Greek philosophy and is highly recommended to graduate students working in the field, although probably too complicated for the undergraduates and certainly not suitable for class use.