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Parmenides of Elea. Annotated Bibliography of the studies in English: A - B


  1. "Parmenides Studies Today." 1979. The Monist no. 62:3-106.

    Contents: Alexander P. D. Mourelatos: Some Alternatives in Interpreting Parmenides 3; Joseph Owens: Knowledge and Katabasis in Parmenides 15; Karl Bormann: The Interpretation of Parmenides by the Neoplatonist Simplicius 30; Leonardo Tarán: Perpetual Duration and Atemporai Eternity in Parmenides and Plato 43; T. M. Robinson: Parmenides on the Real in its Totality 54; David Gallop: 'Is' or 'Is Not'? 61; P. B. Manchester: Parmenides and the Need for Eternity 81-106.

  2. Adluri, Vishwa. 2011. Parmenides, Plato and Mortal Philosophy. London: Continuum.

    Contents: Foreword by Luc Brisson XIII; Acknowledgments XVII; Introduction: Parmenides and Renewing the Beginning 1; Part I: Beginnings: Arkhai. Chapter 1: Radical Individuality: Time, Mortal Soul, and Journey 11; Chapter 2: Parmenides and His Importance as a Beginner 33; Part II: Parmenides. Chapter 3: The Mortal Journey: Thumos (The Mortal Soul) and Its Limits 45; Chapter 4: In the Realm of the Goddess: Logos and Its Limits 64; Chapter 5: At Home in the Kosmos: The Return 78; Part III: Plato the Pre-Socratic. Chapter 6: Reading Plato’s Phaedrus: Socrates the Mortal 93; Part IV: Forewording. Conclusion: Returning to Parmenides 129; Appendix: Translation and Textual Notes of Parmenides' Peri Phuseos 137; Section I: The Journey 137; Section II: The Goddess 139; Section III: The Kosmos 148; Notes 157; Bibliography 186; Index 205-212.

    "Dr. Adluri argues for a “mortal philosophy,” that is, a philosophy that is aware of and maintains the tension between the mortal desire for transcendence, whether understood as eternity or as the timeless truths of metaphysical propositions, and the irreducibly tragic “mortal condition” which implies a return from transcendence to our finitude. In my view, Dr. Adluri holds together these opposing elements admirably in his book and, in doing so, provides a thought-provoking and brilliantly original analysis of Parmenides' poem with extensive notes, written in a fresh and lucid style. His work, which is very interesting on the level of scholarly work, provides new insight into Parmenides' poem that goes well beyond the logical analyses to which one has attempted to reduce it over the most recent decades. Above all, he proposes a description of Parmenides' approach that does not reduce him to being the philosopher of Being and of Eternity. Parmenides speaks of the universe, and confronts not only immortality, but mortality as well. The importance of argumentation in the poem is considerable, and continues to be admitted by all, but the role played in it by myth is decisive in it." (From the Foreword by Luc Brisson, XIII)

  3. Altman, William Henry Furness. 2015. "Parmenides' Fragment B3 Revisited." Hypnos (São Paulo) no. 35:197-230.

    "Abstract: The justification for placing Parmenides fr. 3 (DK 28 B3) in “Truth” is weak, and both its ambiguity and capacity to generate radically different interpretations suggest that it belongs to “Doxa.” The paper analyzes the fragment’s sources (Clement, Plotinus, and Proclus), the circumstances of its belated entry into any collection (1835), and argues that the ongoing debate between the reading of Diels and the reading of it introduced by Zeller arises from the presupposition—heretofore unquestioned—that it belongs in “Truth.”

    The paper’s principal purpose is not to settle this famous interpretive dilemma nor to reinterpret B3 within “Doxa,” but rather to destabilize the currently unquestioned view that it belongs in “Truth,” and to call into question any global interpretations of Parmenides that make B3 a central component."

  4. Anscombe, Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret. 1968. "Parmenides, Mystery and Contradiction." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 69:125-132.

    Reprinted in: The Collected Philosophical Papers, vol. I: From Parmenides to Wittgenstein, Oxford: Blackwell, 1981, pp. 3-8.

    "Endeavors to elucidate Parmenides' seemingly enigmatic statements concerning the relationship between Being and thought. Formulates Parmenides' argument in terms of three propositions: (1) it is the same thing that can be thought and can be; (2) what is not cannot be; (3) therefore what is not cannot be thought. Undertakes a detailed analysis of the logical structure of the argument, and contends that it is valid if the second premiss is taken in sensu diviso. But it has no credibility except in sensu composito. The conclusion is also incredible."

    "If' we take Parmenides as simply warning us off the path of thinking there are things that do not exist, then he seems no more than good sense. But when we combine this with the idea that being is an object, we get his wilder results. However, we should not move slickly here: “being” might be an abstract noun, equivalent to the infinitive “to be”. But Parmenides does not treat to be as an object, but rather being, i.e. something being or some being thing. It is difficult to use the participle in English in the required way, and we might get closer to the sense by saying “what is”.

    There is a similar difficulty about Parmenides' description of the two paths for thought: “is, and cannot not be”, and “is not and needs must not be”. In English the lack of a subject may be found disturbing. But the Greek does not need a subject-expression. The subject - he, she, it, or they - is built into the verb, which therefore does not seem incomplete without a separate word for a subject. Therefore it is often translated “It is”. But there is no indication in the Greek that “it” is the right subject. Therefore I would rather not give a subject word. “These are the only ways of enquiry for thought: one ‘is and cannot not be', . . . the other ‘is not, and needs must not be'.” That is: Whatever enquiry one is making, one’s thoughts can only go two ways, saying ‘is, and must be', or ‘is not, and can’t be'.

    The noteworthy thing about this is not so much the ungiven subject, as the combination of “is” with “cannot not be” and of “is not” with “cannot be”. This needs argument. We have seen what the argument is: what is not is nothing, and it is not possible for what is nothing to be; and so both whatever can be must be, and what can be thought of must be; for it is the same as what can be." (from the Introduction to the reprint, p. X)


    "It was left to the moderns to deduce what could be from what could hold of thought, as we see Hume to have done. This trend is still strong. But the ancients had the better approach, arguing only that a thought was impossible because the thing was impossible, or, as the Tractatus puts it. “Was man nicht denken kann, das kann man nicht denken”: an impossible thought is an impossible thought.

    At the present day we are often perplexed with enquiries about what makes true, or what something’s being thus or so consists in; and the answer to this is thought to be an explanation of meaning. If there is no external answer, we are apparently committed to a kind of idealism.

    Whitehead’s remark about Plato might, somewhat narrowly, be applied to his great predecessor:

    Subsequent philosophy is footnotes on Parmenides." (from the Introduction to the reprint, pp.X-XI)

  5. Austin, Scott. 1983. "Genesis and Motion in Parmenides: B8.12-13." Harvard Studies in Classical Philology no. 87:151-168.

    "The emendation τού for μη in Parmenides, fragment 8, line 12, proposed by Karsten, (1) has been adopted by (among others) Reinhardt, Tarán, Stokes, and, most recently, Barnes. (2) And yet, while there is no compelling reason to make the emendation, there are several good reasons why one should not make it. I want to claim that the unemended poem already does what the emendation is supposed to allow it to do. I also should like to venture some observations on Parmenidean method and on his use of the key concepts of change and motion." (p. 151)

    (1) S. Karsten, Parmenidis Eleatae Carminis Reliquiae (Amsterdam 1835).

    (2) K. Reinhardt, Parmenides und die Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie (Bonn 1916) 40 ff. Leonardo Tarán, Parmenides: A Text with Translation, Commentary, and Critical Essays (Princeton 1965) 95-102. Michael C. Stokes, One and Many in Presocratic Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass. 1971). Jonathan Barnes, The Presocratic Philosophers, I, Thales to Zeno 188-190 (London 1979).

  6. ———. 1986. Parmenides. Being, Bounds, and Logic. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Contents: Acknowledgments IX-XI; Introduction 1; Chapter 1. Why not "is not"? 11; Chapter 2. Terms 44; Chapter 3. Modals, the Other, and Method 96; Chapter 5. Context and contradiction 116; Chapter 6. The bounded and the unbounded 136; Appendix. Parmenides' On Nature 155; Notes 175; Bibliography 193; Index 199-203.

    "In chapter 1, I attempt to describe what exactly the goddess requires and prohibits. One scholarly issue arises from the puzzling fact that, though the goddess prohibits discourse about what-is-not, her own discourse is full of negative words and expressions, thus seeming inconsistent. I try to arrive at an interpretation of her prohibition which does not make her rule out the language that she herself uses, which clears her of some inconsistencies by allowing her to mean what she says, negatively as well as positively. In the process I attempt to determine what Parmenides thought were the ultimate relationships among ontology, sentence structure, and logic. I also claim that Parmenides' attitude towards contextual relativity determines what is right about "Truth" and wrong about "Opinion." This claim, if correct, allows us to make connections between Parmenides, the Sophists, Plato, and Aristotle, connections which are taken up again and historically amplified in chapter 5. This first chapter is the most controversial in its claims. Chapter 2, taking as its premise the goddess's use of different sorts of positive and negative language, tries to determine just how many sorts of language there are, how comprehensive the coverage of them is, and why certain sorts occur in specific places in the poem. (...)

    Chapters 3 and 4 make the same claim about comprehensiveness and determinacy for Parmenides' treatment of contraries, for his proof that there is nothing besides being, and for his use of metaphorical modal language. Here the method of elimination of alternatives has the same ontological outcome: a single, non contrary necessary being is rendered determinate and, to use Parmenides' own metaphor, is bounded by being the object of a discourse which operates by systematically examining the spectrum of possibilities. In chapters 2-4, then, logic and a comprehensive method of enumeration and variation appear intimately intertwined with ontology in a combination originated by Parmenides and (as chapters 5 and 6 try to show) decisive in subsequent philosophy and in its own right. Chapter 5 attempts to trace the history, from Thales through Parmenides to Aristotle, of the Parmenidean logic of contextual variability, of the method of variation, and of the theory of negative language attributed to Parmenides in the first four chapters, thus to situate his thought in its immediate historical context while showing that later developments can be predicated retroactively in his terms. The concluding chapter meditates on the philosophical and theological significance of the views attributed here to Parmenides, especially in light of his identification of the transcendent with the determinate or bounded rather than with the unbounded, and in connection with the methodology and theory associated with that identification in earlier chapters." (pp. 7-8)

  7. ———. 2002. "Parmenides, double-negation, and dialectic." In Presocratic Philosophy. Essays in Honour of Alexander Mourelatos, edited by Caston, Victor and Graham, Daniel W., 95-100. Aldershot: Ashgate.

    "I claim in this paper that Parmenides chose to negate as part of the most basic skeleton of his proof-structure: each predicate true of Being is not only proved, but also has its contradictory denied modally. And all sorts of negations (privations, denials, double-negations) have a necessary place in these proofs. Thus Parmenides' speech - a monistic speech - was already meaningfully negative, and the pluralism in philosophy that begins later on and culminates in the argument against Parmenides in the Sophist is unnecessary, at least on those grounds. In particular, I wish to show that Parmenides, like Plato's Parmenides, domesticates negation in a way that Plato and the subsequent tradition do not positively give him credit for. For Plato articulated the line of criticism which has been dominant ever since: Parmenides' discourse cannot be uttered without undercutting the goddess's own conditions for the intelligibility of meaningful speech; moreover, even if we could hear her speech and retain it for a moment, it would be useless to us. The criticism continues: a pure monism is, divorced from the needs of life, dialogue, or a path to goodness and beauty.

    Parmenides' intention to speak negatively is visible from the beginning of the goddess' remarks about the canons for truth. Fragment 2 tells us that we are to say not only how or that being is, but also how it is not possible for it to be otherwise. This prescription in fragment 2 gets expanded into the list of signposts in fr. 8: 'how it is' in fr. 8.2, directly repeating the 'how it is' in fr. 2.3, is at once amplified into 'how it is ungenerable and unperishing, a whole of a single kind, unmoving, and perfect' - this amplification, along with the reading of Parmenides as an ironist, will remain one of Mourelatos' own most decisive contributions - and each signpost is then proved in fragment 8 in sequence by proving the impossibility of its contradictory in a manner I shall describe below. There is no such thing as a bare 'is' in Parmenides; the copula is always either explicitly predicational or implicitly so (Austin, 1986, pp. 11-43). It is always a mistake to isolate the `is' from the surrounding discourse and then attempt to guess at its significance." (p. 95)

  8. ———. 2007. Parmenides and the History of Dialectic. Three Essays. Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing.

    Contents: Introduction IX; Acknowledgements XIII; Essay one: Parmenidean dialectic 1; Essay two: Parmenidean metaphysics 29; Essay three: Parmenides and the history of dialectic 51; Bibliography 85; Index 91-98.

    "In [the] second essay, I would like to attempt a reconstruction of Parmenides in philosophical terms, not in methodological terms, as was tried in the first essay. But the philosophical issues will, I hope, be not only central, but also perennial. I shall set these out partly on the basis of the conclusions of the first essay, and partly on the basis of conclusions for which I have argued elsewhere. The attempt in this essay will, however, necessarily be incomplete, for the ramifications of Parmenides extend even into our own day. I shall attempt a study of this extension in the third essay.

    I urge to begin with, as I urged in the first essay, that we abandon the attempt to figure out the motivations of Parmenides' argument by looking to fragment 2 first and then making conjectures about what the Parmenidean esti in that fragment means or could mean. No amount of research, amplification, or surgery is going to make this fragment specific enough. Instead, we should look to fragment 8 as an example of the discourse which fragment 2 makes both possible and necessary, and reason backwards instead of forwards. This may fail, but it is high time that it was tried." (p. 31)

  9. ———. 2011. "Existence and Essence in Parmenides." In Parmenides, 'Venerable and Awesome' (Plato, Theaetetus 183e), edited by Cordero, Néstor-Luis, 1-8. Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing.

    Summary: "Parmenides' absolute monism puts existence and essence into an absolutely monistic Being as it joins levels in an ontological hierarchy that other philosophers, from the Neoplatonists through Hegel, were later to separate. The result is a fusion of presentation and representation, a fusion not teased apart until the twentieth century."

  10. ———. 2014. "Some Eleatic Features of Platonic and Neoplatonic Method." Ancient Philosophy no. 34:65-74.

    "I have earlier tried to show that there is a determinate sequence of positives and negatives in the 'Truh' section of Parmenides' fragment 8, that the sequence correlates with elements in the structure of the second half of Plato's Parmenides, and that both sequences can be called ' dialectical' in the sense demanded by Republic VI (Austin, [Parmenides and the History of Dialectic. Three Essays] 2007). I shall here investigate the use of the notions of one and many in the poem and in the dialogue, and attempt to look forward to similar uses in the Plotincan hypostases and in Proclus' commentary on the dialogue. My aim is to expand and make more precise our understanding of ancient dialectic. A cursory survey of Google will reveal dozens of results for the joint keywords 'Parmenides dialectic'. But it is never clear just what this 'dialectic' is to consist in, nor how it was interpreted by those who thought themselves to be Plato's successors in our Western tradition. Here I shall attempt to show that alternations and jugglings of one and many turn out to be as important as those of positive and negative in this tradition at its outset."

  11. Barnes, Jonathan. 1979. "Parmenides and the Eleatic One." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 61:1-21.

    Reprinted in: J. Barnes, Method and Metaphysics. Essays in Ancient Philosophy I, edited by Maddalena Bonelli, New York: Oxford University Press 2011, pp. 262-287.

    " 'Exactly one thing exists'. That is the intoxicating thesis of 'real' monism. It is, of course, utterly distinct from its milksop homonym, 'material' monism, which maintains that everything is made of some single matter or stuff. As a philosophico-scientific thesis it is at best absurd and at worst unintelligible; yet beyond all doubt it was propounded by Melissus.

    Almost to a man, scholars deny Melissus any monistic originality: he inherited real monism, together with most of the rest of his philosophy, from father Parmenides; and it was the uncouth verses of the Way of Truth which placed tò en at the centre of Eleatic metaphysics. A few heterodox students have quarrelled with that ascription, doubting the presence - or at least questioning the importance - of The One in Parmenides' thought; but their scruples have been unconvincingly expressed, and they have failed to shake the orthodoxy. And indeed, the orthodoxy has reason for complacency: the history of fifth century thought is often seen to hinge on Parmenidean monism; a luxuriant doxography is pretty well unanimous in ascribing tò en to Parmenidean; and the thesis of real monism is apparently both stated and argued for in the surviving fragments of Parmenides' poem.

    In this paper, I shall argue that we have in reality no reason to make Parmenides a monist. My approach is negative and serial: I shall simply consider one by one the texts and suppositions which have been or might be adduced in the quest for monism, and I shall endeavour to show that their adduction is of no avail. My aim is to prick the hide of orthodoxy: even the most sagacious elephant may benefit from the occasional gad-fly's sting." (pp. 2-3, notes omitted)

  12. ———. 1979. The Presocratic Philosophers. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Two volumes; revised edition in one volume 1989.

    See Chapter IX: Parmenides and the Objects of Inquiry, pp. 122-138 and X: Being and Becoming, pp. 139-157.

    "Parmenides of Elea marks a turning-point in the history of philosophy: his investigations, supported and supplemented by those of his two followers [Zeno and Melissus], seemed to reveal deep logical flaws in the very foundations of earlier thought. Science, it appeared, was marred by subtle but profound contradictions; and the great enterprise undertaken by the Milesians, by Xenophanes and by Heraclitus, lacked all pith and moment. The age of innocence was ended, and when science was taken up again by the fifth-century philosophers, their first and most arduous task was to defend their discipline against the arguments of Elea. If their defense was often frail and unconvincing, and if it was Plato who first fully appreciated the strength and complexity of Parmenides' position, it remains true that Parmenides' influence on later Presocratic thought was all-pervasive. Historically, Parmenides is a giant figure; what is more, he introduced into Presocratic thought a number of issues belonging to the very heart of philosophy. Parmenides' thoughts were divulged in a single hexameter poem (Diogenes Laertius, 1.16 = 28 A 13) which survived intact to the time of Simplicius (A 21). Observing that copies of the poem were scarce, Simplicius transcribed extensive extracts; and thanks to his efforts we possess some [B 6] lines of the work, including two substantial passages." (p. 122)

  13. Barrett, James. 2004. "Struggling with Parmenides." Ancient Philosophy no. 24:267-291.

    "... Parmenides' poem contains syntactical puzzles of extraordinary difficulty. (3) And yet, in spite of the fact that every student of the poem has experienced a form of vertigo in coming to terms with this remarkable text, few have pursued this disorientation as anything other than a difficulty to be surmounted.

    I argue, however, that the poem reaps benefits from the opacity we all confront and that our experience of vertigo is in fact consistent with the commentary of the fragments more broadly. I do not contend that the text presents unresolvable opacity as yet one more gesture toward inescapable aporia, or that none of the possible meanings necessarily have a greater or lesser claim to validity. Rather, I suggest that the poem offers its own difficulty—particularly in the ‘Aletheia' (4) as a key part of its purpose and that the text’s strong interest in epistemological method appears not only in the substance of its commentary, but also in its mode of expression." (p. 267)

    (3) By 'poem' I mean the fragments as we know them.

    (4) I follow convention in dividing the poem into three sections: proem (B1); 'Aletheia' B2-8: and Doxa' B9-19. For convenience I refer to the Aletheia' as the poem's ‘first part' and to the ‘Doxa' as the 'second'. I intend no judgments either by this terminology or by these divisions.

  14. Basson, Anthony Henry. 1961. "The Way of Truth." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 61:73-86.

    "More generally, almost all commentators assume (1) that there is just one premiss, (2) that the poem presents a single continuous chain of argument. If this were so, a single false step would suffice to destroy the whole. In fact, analysis does not support either of these assumptions.

    The object of this paper is simply logical analysis, and this means ascertaining (1) which statements in fact function as premisses, and which as conclusions, (2) whether the conclusions are in fact validly deduced from the premisses. For this purpose I use Raven’s (*)excellent English rendering, referring to the Greek text only where this is essential. I shall assume that Fragments 2 and 8 contain the whole argument, the remainder being repetitious or rhetorical; and further, that propositions not proved in the extant fragments were not proved in those parts of the poem which have perished.

    I first reproduce Fragments 2 and 8, arranged so as to show their logical structure. Thus Fragment 2 consists of five assertions, numbered 01-05, which form a single argument. But Fragment 8 consists of a sequence of forty-two assertions, and divides into no less than nine distinct arguments, numbered 11-13, 21-26, 31-36, 41-44, 51-55, 61-62, 71-74, 81-85, 91-97. Some preliminary observations are made on the articulation of each of these ten arguments, and their relations to one another. In Part III the principal conclusions are listed, which Parmenides seems to wish to draw. Then the various arguments for these are reconstructed, additional premisses being inserted where these are required for validity. It is found that two of these arguments (the proofs of assertions 22 and 72) are fundamental. In Part IV the argument of Fragment 2 (01-05) is examined in connexion with the proof of 22, and an interpretation of the former is offered. The outcome of this examination is that 71-74 is the fundamental argument, rather than 01-05." (pp. 74-75)

    (*) [Kirk, Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers. A Critical History with a Selection of Texts, 1957]

  15. Beaufret, Jean. 2006. "Heraclitus and Parmenides." In Dialogue with Heidegger, 21-31. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

    First French edition: Botteghe oscure, 25, 1960, pp. 31-37; revised reprint in J. Beaufret, Dialogue avec Heidegger. Philosophie grecque, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1973.

    "If the world that is said to be pre-Socratic is rich in original historical figures, Heraclitus and Parmenides are the most radiantly central figures of this world. With Heraclitus and Parmenides the very foundation of occidental thought is accomplished. It is to them that what is still alive and vivacious at the bottom of our thinking goes back, as if to the secret of its source. It can be said that it is through them that we think, even if we do not think of them, for they are the light in which the depth of our world is originally revealed—a depth which we always and already are and which remains all the more enigmatic for us, and thus all the more concealed, in that we belong to it in the heart of the history that has come to us and that is still to come." (p. 21)


    "If Parmenides is the thinker of being, we can understand now that this thinking of being overshadows change no more than a thinking of change, such as Heraclitus conceives it, destabilizes a fundamental permanence. Movement appears to Heraclitus only upon a background of permanence, and when Parmenides thinks the permanence of being against non-being, it is as an unmovable horizon of presence-absence that is the essence of all change. Far from rising from the dawn against each other like the champions of an inaugural polemic, Heraclitus and Parmenides are perhaps both, despite the difference of their words, listening to the same λόγος, to which they both lend the same ear at the origin of occidental thought. At bottom, there is perhaps no more immobilism in Parmenides' Poem than there is mobilism in the fragments of Heraclitus, or rather permanence and change are to be found to the same degree in both. In this way the two languages diverge without, however, contradicting each other. Both expose the Greek knowledge of being, a knowing of being that unfolds in the element of presence without forcing or tormenting anything, without shying away or becoming strained, without compromise or excess." (pp. 30-31)

  16. ———. 2006. "Reading Parmenides." In Dialogue with Heidegger, 32-63. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

    French edition: Lecture de Parménide, in J. Beaufret, Dialogue avec Heidegger. Philosophie grecque, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1973.

    "But in 1916 Karl Reinhardt, who taught at Frankfurt and whom I once had the chance to meet on the shores of Lake Maggiore just after the Second World War, dismisses the interpretations of both Diels and Wilamowitz. This is neither a polemical refutation nor a concessive hypothesis; what Parmenides explains, after having opposed truth to error, is quite simply how it would be impossible for error not to seize the minds of men from the very beginning. The power of error over men responds, as Reinhardt says, “to a sort of original sin” of pre-history. (5) The site of this error, that is, opinion or δόξα, ceases to be, therefore, a mere adventitious juxtaposition to true knowledge, ἀλήθεια, in the Poem; it becomes an integral part of a whole to whose unity it belongs as that to which true knowledge is contrasted." (p. 33)


    "The argument that there is a tripartition where a bimillenary tradition has only been able to see a bipartition, is, I believe, the veritable acquisition of Reinhardt’s study. Yet whether this tripartition is exactly as Reinhardt determines it remains as questionable.

    It falls to Heidegger to have raised such a question eleven years after the publication of Reinhardt’s book, on page 223 of Sein und Zeit (1927), that is, four pages before the incomplete French translation published in 1964 by Gallimard as a supposed first volume of the text mysteriously comes to a halt. Heidegger says in a note: “Karl Reinhardt was the first to conceptualize and solve the hackneyed problem of how the two parts of Parmenides' poem are connected, though he did not explicitly point out the ontological foundation for the connection between ἀλήθεια and δόξα, or of the necessity of this connection." (p. 34)


    "Is it a question, as Reinhardt thought, of the tripartition: truth, error, and truth of error as original sin? Is it a question of something other? But of what exactly? Can we draw it out from a simple translation? Yes, but on condition that this translation is not simply a movement of the text to us, but rather a movement on our part to Parmenides' words. Not, of course, in order to burden them with presuppositions that have come from elsewhere, but to attempt to hear in them the simplicity of what they say. And here philology, as erudite as it may be, remains insufficient. For it is above all philology that is far from being exempt from philosophical presuppositions." (p. 35)

  17. Benardete, Seth. 1998. "«Night and day,...»: Parmenides." Mètis. Anthropologie des mondes grecs anciens no. 13:193-225.

    "Three things are conspicuously absent from Parmenides' poem, and a fourth is just as surprising for its presence. The goddess never ascribes eternity (αίεί) to being or falsehood (ψευδός) to nonbeing; nonbeing disappears as soon as the goddess turns to Opinion, even though ‘to be not' is as much a mortal name as ‘to be' (8. 40), and the goddess promises that Parmenides will know (εϊση, ειδήσεις [10. 1, 5]) and learn (μαθήσεαι [8.31]) mortal opinions, but she herself never uses such verbs about Truth.

    Parmenides is, to be sure, fated to hear of everything (πάντα πυθέσθαι) (1.28), but only he says that he was on a road that carries the man who knows (είδότα φώτα) (1. 3). The goddess says that mortals know nothing είδότες ούδέν) (6. 4). That the goddess never speaks of the parts that should presumably constitute the whole of being might be thought a fifth cause of astonishment, but not if ‘whole' means no more than ‘one', and the likeness of being to a sphere does not grant it anything more than arbitrarily sliced homogeneous sections, and the difference between the surface and center of a sphere fails to apply to being. If being is also bereft of any magnitude, despite the equal measures the goddess assigns to it (8. 44, 49), being is no more than a point and as hypothetical as any other geometric entity. It is one thing for the goddess to speak of an articulated order (διάκοσμος) of opinions no less plausible (είκώς) than imagistic (είκώς) (8. 60); it is quite another for being to transgress its own boundaries through an image (3).

    Deception (άπατηλός κόσμος) should be an exclusive property of Opinion (8. 32). Plato’s Eleatic Stranger, in believing that Parmenides' whole case collapses if phantom speeches (είδωλα λεγάμενα) and the arts that produce them can be shown to exist, seems to be unaware that Parmenides had anticipated his counter-proof in the phantom speech his own poem was, despite the fact that the lines he himself quotes from it lodged the image within the account of being (4). The patricide he is about to commit and for which he asks Theaetetus’s pardon is itself a phantoms." (p. 194)

    (3) The double meaning of είκώς, which controls the account that Timaeus gives, first shows up in the Odyssey, where Nestor, in speaking of Telemachus, juxtaposes its two senses: ή τοι γάρ μΰθοί γε έοικότες, ουδέ κε φαίης/νεώτερον ώδε έοικότα μυθήσασθαι (Odyssey, 3. 124-5).

    (4) Sophist, 241 d 10-e 6; 244 e 2-7.

  18. Benzi, Nicolò. 2016. "Noos and Mortal Enquiry in the Poetry of Xenophanes and Parmenides." Methodos. Savoirs et Textes no. 16:1-18.

    Abstract: "Noos, noein and their derivatives are of central importance to the development of epistemological conceptions in Presocratic philosophy. Already in Homer the terms indicate a special form of cognition, resembling sense perception in its non-inferential nature, which consists in discovering the truth beyond mere appearance. In this article, I focus on the role which noos and noein play in the poetry of Xenophanes and Parmenides, whose characterizations of noetic cognition, I argue, depend on their response to the problems stemming from the contrast between humans' epistemic limitations and divine omniscience, as traditionally depicted in Archaic Greek poetry. In particular, I consider Hesiod's poems and the implications of his claim to be able to “speak the mind (noos) of Zeus” (Op. 661), which hints at the universal truth he wants to convey through his poetry. However, Hesiod's dependence on the Muses, who can speak both false and true things (Th. 27-28), renders his poetry inevitably ambiguous, as he and his audience cannot know whether what they learn from the divinity is actually true.

    Xenophanes appropriates the motif of humans' epistemic limitedness by describing mortals as inevitably confined to opinion, and contrasting their condition with the all-powerful noetic capacities of the greatest god. However, I argue, despite mortals' belief-formation ultimately relies on divine disclosure, humans are not condemned to complete ambiguity as in the past poetic tradition, since Xenophanes' very conception of god's noos provides a reliable basis for mortal enquiry which guarantees the actual improvement of humans' opinions over time.

    Even in Parmenides' poem human noos is repeatedly described as wandering astray, but error is not conceived as an ineluctable human condition. In fact, by stipulating that the correct path of enquiry which mortals' noos ought to follow to attain truth consists in the logical deduction of the attributes of What-Is, Parmenides allows for the actual possibility that humans achieve that universal and absolute truth to which traditionally they could not have access.

    Thus, by introducing innovations to the traditional notion of divine and mortal noos, Xenophanes and Parmenides respectively assigned to critical enquiry and logical argumentation that essential role which they maintained in the following development of philosophy."

  19. Bicknell, Peter J. 1967. "Parmenides' Refutation of Motion and an Implication." Phronesis no. 12:1-5.

    "It is commonly maintained that Melissus was the major forerunner of atomism. This has been argued on a number of grounds, one of these being that Leucippus reacted to a Melissean rather than a Parmenidean refutation of locomotion. In the following short paper I shall challenge this view and point out that not only is one other argument for Melissus' influence on atomism insecure, but that Theophrastus (*), our most important witness, unequivocally states that Leucippus opposed a pre-Melissean eleaticism.

    Discussion is preceded by quotation of the two relevant texts." [Parmenides DK 28 B8 and Melissus DK 30 B7.7] (p. 1)

    "To return to motion and the void, it seems to me most likely that Leucippus in replying to Parmenides made explicit τό κενόν implicit in Parmenides' gaps of what is not in what is and that Melissus attempted to refute Leucippus using atomism’s own physical terminology." (p. 5)

    (*) [The crucial passage is the following: Simplicius Phys. 28.4ff (a virtual transcript of Theophrastus, either direct or through Alexander of Aphrodisias), (p. 4)]

  20. ———. 1968. "A new arrangement of some Parmenidean verses." Symbolae Osloensis no. 42:44-50.

    "Preface. There have been two important attempts at setting the extant fragments of Parmenides' poem in order; that by H. Diels in his 'Poetarum Philosophorum Fragmenta' and in the earlier editions of 'Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker'; and that by W. Kranz in the later editions of the latter work. In many respects, the sequence proposed by Diels was followed by his successor, but the respective fragments 1 and 7 differ significantly. With the important exception of C. J. de Vogel, (1) scholars appear unanimous in their approval of the Kranzian ordering. In the present paper, I intend to review the difference between Diels' and Kranz' constructions of fragments 1 and 7, and to suggest a new combination of verses which involves adding a line to fragment 1 as Diels constructed it and uniting three other fragments, namely fragment 6 (Diels and Kranz), fragment 2 (Diels) = fragment 4 (Kranz), and fragment 8 (Diels and Kranz)." (p. 44)

    (1) C. J. de Vogel, Greek Philosophy, Vol. I, Leiden, 1957, pp. 37-38.

  21. ———. 1979. "Parmenides DK 28 B5." Apeiron.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science no. 13:9-11.

    According to the common view, represented by Raven (1) and endorsed with little hesitation by Guthrie, (2) this fragment, whose context within Parmenides' poem is not evident from its only citation, (3) is to be interpreted in conjunction with B1.28—29. In

    these lines from the prologue the goddess undertakes to reveal to the poet-seer Άληθειής εϋκυκλεος (4) or εύγίεγγέος (5) or ενττειέθος (6) τ?τορ. Accepting the reading eUKiwXeoc, Raven explains that truth is described as well-rounded because wherever you pick up the chain of Parmenides' reasoning, you can follow it round in a circle, passing through each of the links in turn back to your starting point. At B5, Raven holds, the goddess spells out this feature of her subsequent argumentation. He translates "it is all one to me where I begin, for I shall come back there again in time".

    Together with others this interpretation is rightly rejected in Tarán's (7) modern doxography. It is incompatible, Tarán claims, with the structure of B8. Only a brief scrutiny of the Way of Truth is required to appreciate that this is in fact the case. Five characteristics, ά·γένητον, άνωληθρον,ούλον μουιχτγενές, άτρεμές, άτελεστον, (8) of its subject are established in that order. (9) Only in the demonstration of the fourth, in one of its senses, (10) is the proof of others invoked. (11) None of the theorems of B8 leads back into the primary argument which occupies B2, B3 and B6 1-2. It apparently did not occur to Tarán, however, to contemplate an alternative translation for B5. Rendering "It is indifferent to me where I make a beginning; for there I come back again", he declare himself agnostic as to the reason for, if not the authenticity of, (12) the goddess' observation." (p. 9)

    1. See G.S. Kirk and J.E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers, Cambridge 1954, pp. 268-269.

    2. See W.K.C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. ii, Cambridge 1965, p. 97 note 1.

    3. By Proclus (in Parm. 1. 708. 16-17) who almost certainly found the lines, which he mistakenly referred to Being, in an anthology.

    4. So Simplicius at de caelo 557. 27 ff.

    5. So Proclus, in Tim. 1. 345. 15-16.

    6. Thus Clement, Strom. 2. 336. 16-17; Diogenes Laertius 9.22; Plutarch, adv. Colot. 1114 d-e; and Sextus Empiricus, adv. math. 7. Ill and 114.

    7. See L. Tarán, Parmenides, Princeton 1965, pp. 51-53.

    8. See B8.9-11.

    9. άγένητου together with, conversely, άνωλεθρον, B8. 5-21; ουλών μοννoγενές, B8. 22— 25; άτρεμές, B8. 26-41; άτέλετον, B8. 42-49.1 leave elaboration for a future occasion.

    10.I stand by my central contention at Phronesis 12 (1967) pp. 1-5 that Parmenides separately disposed of movement qua transformation, growth and diminution, and qualitative change (all ruled out proximately by the impossibility of genesis and olethros) on the one hand (B8.26-28) and qua change of position, i.e. locomotion, on the other (B8. 29-33).

    11. See B8. 27-28.

    12. Doubted by Jameson, for reference see note 16 below.

    16. C.J. Jameson, "Well-rounded Truth" and Circular Thought in Parmenides", Phronesis 3 (1958), pp. 15-30.

  22. Blank, David L. 1982. "Faith and Persuasion in Parmenides." Classical Antiquity no. 1:167-177.

    "The debate between those who recognize a religious, mystical Parmenides and those who see Parmenides as a rationalist has had a long history, even when one begins its examination with Diels's shaman- and Reinhardt's logician Parmenides.(1)" (p. 167)


    "This essay attempts to show not only that certain elements of the proem's imagery make sense in a religious light but that they go someway toward clarifying the purpose of the proem and its relation to the remainder of Parmenides' poem. The analysis centers on the motifs of faith and persuasion, πιστις and Πειθώ. I shall argue that these motifs are used to stress the importance of Parmenides' message to his disciples by putting forward a claim to urgency on the level of his competition, the mystery religions and Pythagorean teachings to which the disciples were constantly exposed in southern Italy. Establishment of this claim is the ultimate goal of Parmenides' proem." (p. 168)


    "If Parmenides wanted his philosophical project to be taken seriously or even to be heard at all over the confused frenzy of the pious, he was well advised to borrow some of their techniques. Thus, Parmenides begins by making his set of alternatives, Truth and Seeming, as crucially important to the audience as the alternatives of the competing groups. Once he has gained the audience's attention and has got the audience to trust him, he demonstrates the method of persuasion by argument. "ἐστί, says Parmenides, is the Way of true faith; and although he argues for this logically, he begins by using the seductive power of persuasion and implies that those who hold the true faith will be happy, while those who do not are doomed to ignorance by their απιστία." (p. 177)

  23. Bodnár, István M. 1985. "Contrasting Images Notes on Parmenides Β 5." Apeiron.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science no. 19:52-59.

    "A fragment, deprived of its context and so short as B 5 is, can pose notorious difficulties to those trying to interpret it. Tarán’s verdict (which he formulates while elucidating the basic" meaning of this fragment) that "... while some of these conjectures go beyond the evidence so that there is no good reason to support one against the others, other conjectures are based on premisses that may be proved wrong” seems to suggest that we do not possess any criterion so as to choose among the interpretations which cannot be rejected: after all a certain amount of incertainty is inevitable or even inherent in this fragment.

    In the following sections I will try to show that in much the same way as in the case of, for example, Parmenides B 3 we are able to contrast and rank different interpretations of this fragment. This does not lead up to pure certainty in fact, and supposing we happen to find some longer quotations from Parmenides some day embedding B 5 in a continuous context, it is clear that such a development might be disastrous for the wealth of accumulated labours of scholastically on this fragment. But in principle this holds good in the case of the vast majority of the Presocratic authors, let alone some of the other fragments of Parmenides." (p. 52)

  24. Bogaczyk-Vormayr, Małgorzata. 2016. "Parmenides’ Poem: Riddle from B 5." Ethics in Progress no. 7:95-103.

    "In my interpretation of the poem I give special attention to fragment B5." (p. 95)


    "It seems plausible that the correct interpretation of Parmenides' poem should be taken from the perspective provided by the thesis of fragment B 5, so we could intuitively capture “all things” announced in a presumed whole as referring to the circular, inner Way of Truth.(5) It is from this way that the reliable verification of discovery begins and so also begins the reflection upon any human experience." (p. 101)

    (5) Hermann Diels seems to present the interpretation which is the closest (cf. Bodnár, I. 1985. “Contrasting Image. Notes On Parmenides B5“, Apeiron 19 (1985): 52-59.

  25. Bollack, Jean. 2011. "From Being to the World and Vice Versa." In Parmenides, 'Venerable and Awesome' (Plato, Theaetetus 183e), edited by Cordero, Néstor-Luis, 9-20. Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing.

    Summary: "The importance of the δόξα is accepted today by scholars; the problem is now the relation between the two parts of the poem. The most satisfactory solution is to consider the whole and to show that one part, the definition of Being, is made in reference to the other, as the projection of an organization of the world, and that both terms correspond perfectly to each other. This perspective allows us to reread the introduction as an initiation from a man who “already knows” better than anyone else, but lets himself be told everything by an honored authority: she discloses the truth of language and transmits, for the δόξα, the vision, in accord with Being, of a rigorous opposition."

  26. Boodin, J. E. 1943. "The Vision of Parmenides." The Philosophical Review no. 52:578-589.

    "The evidence is conclusive that Parmenides'contrast is that of fire and earth.That Parmenides means earth we need no more evidence than we have in the extant fragment: "The other is just opposite to it, dark night, a compact and heavy body. "That would be Anaximenes' way of characterizing the earth. But why did Parmenides choose earth to stand for the whole realm of what is not? We learn from Theophrastus that Parmenides "was the first to declare that the earth is spheroidal and situated in the middle of the universe".(19) The discovery of the spheroidal shape of the earth was capital.We find also that Parmenides observed that the moon shines with reflected light and revolves round the earth.Theophrastus does not seem to regard that observation as first "declared" by Parmenides, though it bears evidence of Parmenides being an observer and not merely a logician.If we can reconstruct Parmenides' discovery of the spheroidal shape of the earth, it would throw light upon his dualism of fire and earth.

    I think that it is highly probable that Parmenides discovered the spheroidal shape of the earth from watching the shadow which the earth casts upon the heavens at twilight.

    We can now conclude our argument,which we believe to be Parmenides'argument.The fire of heaven is the It, the truly existent, as it is also the truth of existence. At twilight we can see for ourselves how the earth darkens the sky, shuts off the fire of heaven. The earth which is the cause of the darkness -- and is in fact the darkness -- included for Parmenides, as it does for us who watch the same phenomenon, all that is part of the earth not only the solid core but water and mist. It is all the earth's shadow or darkness. We have here the key to Parmenides' dualism of fire and earth. The white, homogeneous light of heaven is It.

    Color and all other variety is excluded by Parmenides, because he requires the unity of It in order to think It,and unity for him must be physical continuum such as white light seems to be.

    (Newton first discovered that white light is composite.)" (pp. 587-588)

    (19) [Hermann Diels, Doxographi graeci, Berlin: G. Reimer 1879, Theophrastus] Fr. 6a, Fairbanks'translation, quoted by Nahm.

    [References: Arthur Fairbanks, The First Philosophers of Greece, London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. 1898; Milton Charles Nahm (ed.), Selections from Early Greek Philosophy, New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1934.]

  27. Bormann, Karl. 1979. "The Interpretation of Parmenides by the Neoplatonist Simplicius." The Monist no. 62:30-42.

    "The doctrines of Parmenides of the one being and of the world of seeming were -- as is well known -- interpreted in different ways in the course of the history of philosophy, and even in twentieth-century historic-philosophical research, there is no agreement on the meaning of the two parts of the poem.

    Regarding the one being there are four attempts of explanation to be distinguished: (1) The being is material; (2) the being is immaterial; (3) it is the esse copulae or must be seen as a modal category; (4) it is the entity of being ("Sein des Seienden"). This latter interpretation, if we can call it an interpretation, is chiefly influenced by Heidegger. The Doxa-part, however, is seen as (1) a more or less critical doxography; (2) a second-best, hypothetic explanation of phenomena which is not truth but verisimilitude; (3) a systematic unit together with the first part, the αληθβια.We do not have to discuss the differences between the outlined explanations separately;(*) in the following, we shall show that some modern interpretations were already expressed in a similar way in antiquity. With this, we shall concentrate especially on the Neoplatonist Simplicius who in his commentary on Aristotle's Physics expounds the first part of the Parmenidean poem completely and, in addition, the most important doctrines of the second part." (p. 30)

    "The interpretation of the Parmenidean doctrines by Simplicius has the following result: Parmenides distinguished two large regions, the sensible and the non-sensible.(133) The sensible is the region of coming-to-be and perishing.(134) The non-sensible is divided into the levels of soul, intellectual, and intelligible. The ἕν is not discussed on the occasion of the Parmenides interpretation. The Parmenidean being is identical with the intelligible.

    In view of the high esteem that Simplicius shows for Plato and Aristotle, we now have to ask how he interprets their criticism of Parmenides. The answer is: Plato and Aristotle want to prevent misunderstandings.(135)

    Therefore, Plato’s criticism aims at the level of the intellectual, in which a plurality of beings is found together with the otherness.(136) Aristotle, however, shows by his criticism of Parmenides that the Parmenidean being is not identical with the sensible.(137) Parmenides was not convinced — as we could read by mistake from Aristotle, De Caelo 298 b 21— that the sensible and only the sensible would exist.(138) With all criticism of Parmenides given by Aristotle, we always have to consider that Parmenides in Aristotle’s opinion “ is obviously speaking with insight.” (139)." (p. 38)

    (*) To this, see K. Bormann, Parmenides, Hamburg 1971, p. 1-22.

    (133) See In Phys. 79, 29-80, 4.

    (134) See In Phys. 80, 3— 4; In De caelo 556, 12— 14; 559, 14-27.

    (135) Simplicius, In Phys. 148, 11-13; In De caelo 557, 19.

    (136) Simplicius, In Phys. 147, 17 sqq.

    (137) Ibid., 148, 7 sqq.; 86, 19 sqq.; 107, 29.

    (138) Simplicius, In De caelo 558, 12; 559, 14.

    (139) Simplicius, In De caelo 560, 1-4; see Aristotle, Met. 986 b 27.

  28. Bosley, Richard. 1976. "Monistic argumentation." In New Essays on Plato and the Pre-Socratics, edited by Shiner, Roger and King-Farlow, John, 23-44. Guelph: Canadian Association for Publishing in Philosophy.

    "I seek to give an interpretation which is rich enough to disclose the springs of monism. I am primarily concerned to show how we may understand those arguments which leave us with the conclusion that there is only one thing to know.

    We may be assured at the outset that to give an argument whose conclusion is as startling as is that of monism it is necessary either to forge or to use a certain way of arguing. Doing so, in turn, depends upon putting to philosophical or dialectical use words which were not before drawn into the service of philosophical argumentation. I shall argue that the Greek word translated as "way" is put to new service, its use making it possible to undertake an inquiry as to WHAT something is; I shall argue, in short, that Parmenides put the word “way" to the same kind of use to which Plato put “ousia" or“form”, a use sustained by Aristotle in his use of “genos”. These words help make it possible for a philosopher to put a What-question."


    "My first task (section 1) is to give an interpretation; my second one (section 2) is to review some of what Simplicius says, my third one (section 3) is to reconstruct monistic argumentation; I do so to facilitate diagnosis and criticism. My final task (section 4) is to

    comment briefly or the responses of Plato and Aristotle. In their responses we find additional tests of the adequacy of my interpretation and reconstruction." (pp. 23-24)

  29. Bossi, Beatriz. 2015. "What Heraclitus and Parmenides have in common on reality and deception." Logos (Madrid) no. 48:21-34.

    Abstract: "It is usually assumed that Heraclitus is, exclusively, the philosopher of flux, diversity and opposition while Parmenides puts the case for unity and changelessness. However, there is a significant common understanding of things (though in differing contexts), not simply an accidental similarity of understanding. Both philosophers, critically, distinguish two realms: on the one hand, there is the one, common realm, identical for all, which is grasped by the ‘logos that is common'(Heraclitus) or the steady nous (Parmenides) that follows a right method in order to interpret the real. On the other hand, the realm of multiplicity seen and heard by the senses, when interpreted by ‘barbarian souls', is not understood in its common unity. Analogously, when grasped by the wandering weak nous it does not comprehend the real’s basic unity. In this paper I attempt to defend the thesis that both thinkers claim that the common logos (to put it in Heraclitean terms) or the steady intellect (to say it with Parmenides) grasp and affirm the unity of the real."

  30. Bowra, Cecil. 1937. "The Proem of Parmenides." Classical Philology no. 32:97-112.

    Reprinted in: C. Bowra, Problems in Greek Poetry, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953 pp. 38-53.

    "The origins of his method have been studied, but a knowledge of them does not explain either what he meant to say or what his contemporaries would see in his words. If we can understand what the Proem meant in the thought of his time, we may perhaps understand better how Parmenides viewed his calling as a philosopher." (p. 97)

    "It may, then, be admitted that in his Proem Parmenides uses certain ideas and images which were familiar to his time, but he used them for a new purpose, and especially he narrowed their application to his own sphere of the search for knowledge. His Proem serves a purpose in making the reader feel that he is not embarking on something entirely outside his experience. But it also serves another purpose. It shows that Parmenides views his task in a religious or mystical spirit. His choice of imagery, his mention of a daimon and a thea, his use for new purposes of old elements in myths, his description of himself as an eidota psota, and, above all, his account of the celestial journey -- all give the impression that he writes not as a mere logician but as one who has had a very special experience like that of men who have consorted with the gods. His attitude to his subject is far from that of the physiologos, and we can understand why Plato, whose combination of gifts was not unlike his, held him in high reverence. Parmenides regarded the search for truth as something akin to the experience of mystics, and he wrote of it with symbols taken from religion because he felt that it was itself a religious activity." (p. 112)

  31. Bredlow, Luis Andrés. 2011. "Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Parmenides' Theory of Cognition (B 16)." Apeiron.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science no. 44:219-263.

    Abstract: "This paper proposes a new interpretation of Parmenides B 16. After a short review of the status quaestionis (section 1), I will proceed to a detailed examination of the context of quotation in Aristotle (section 2) and Theophrastus, whose report will be shown to disclose some new possibilities for our understanding of the fragment. I shall argue that B 16 is not a theory of sense-perception, but a fragment of a comprehensive theory of cognition (section 3). This theory is consistent with Parmenides' own claims to genuine knowledge of Being (section 4), once we recognize that neither a dualism of ontological domains (“intelligible” vs. “sensible”) nor of cognitive faculties (“reason” vs. “the senses”) can be consistently ascribed to Parmenides. Moreover, our discussion will provide some elements for a reappraisal of Aristotle and Theophrastus as interpreters of their predecessors."

  32. ———. 2012. "Parmenides and the Grammar of Being." Classical Philology no. 106:283-298.

    "The aim of this paper is to explore some grammatical and logical aspects of the word “is” (ἔστιν) in the fragments of Parmenides. I will argue that Parmenides' “is” is to be taken most plausibly, in its first and most immediate sense, as a copula of definitional identity, expressing the essence or nature of something. This definitional use implies both the absolute and the veridical sense of “is.” This account will permit us to overcome some central difficulties inherent in other predicative interpretations of Parmenides' “is,” such as those proposed by Alexander Mourelatos, Richard Ketchum, and Patricia Curd." (p. 283)

    "So the two routes of inquiry of B2 (“It is, and cannot not be,” and “It is not, and it is necessary for it not to be”) form an exhaustive alternative, once we understand the argument as concerned with essential or definitional predication alone (where “x is F” is equivalent to “x is x”): either x is x, or x is not x, which is absurd. The other two modal forms of predication (“x is F, but can be not-F”, and “x is not F, but can be F”) are intentionally left aside as irrelevant to the issue of essential or definitional predication." (p. 295)


    "In addition, this interpretation explains an apparent inconsistency of the goddess' wording. At B2.2 she presents the route of “is not” as one of the routes of inquiry that can be conceived (εἰσι νοῆσαι). Later on, however, she insists that “is not” cannot be conceived (B8.8–9), and the route of “is not” is explicitly marked as “inconceivable” (B8.16). This is easily explained if “is not” stands for self-contradiction and hence logical impossibility. We cannot conceive, of course, that x is not x; but we surely can—and must—conceive the impossibility of x not being x. Evidently, the recognition that a statement is self-contradictory entails the certainty that this statement is false. Thus the route of “is not” is indeed in a certain sense a legitimate way of inquiry: in logical terms, it is the method of reductio ad absurdum. But it is a route that ends as soon as it begins: once it is recognized as such, there is nothing more to find out on this route. So there remains only one route to talk about, namely, that of “it is” (B8.1–2). (49)" (p. 295-296)

    (49) Moreover, if this interpretation is right, another often-stated problem can be dispensed with as well: if Parmenides does not rule out negative predication as such, but only negations of definitional predications (i.e., self-contradictory statements), then there will be no need to seek for justifications for the abundance of negative predicates in his own arguments.

  33. Brown, Lesley. 1994. "The Verb 'To Be' in Greek Philosophy: Some Remarks." In Language. Companions to Ancient Thought. Vol. 3, edited by Everson, Stephen, 212-236. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "I examine key uses of 'to be' in Parmenides, Plato (especially Republic V and Sophist) and Aristotle. I argue against imposing modern distinctions (into predicative, existential or identity uses) on to the texts, showing that while Greek uses of einai may be partitioned into syntactically complete and incomplete (noted by Aristotle and perhaps at Sophist 255cd) the distinction was neither clear-cut nor perceived as philosophically important. I examine how these authors treated the inference from 'X is F' to 'X is' (compare that from 'X teaches French' to 'X teaches') and, more problematically (as Plato Sophist saw, correcting Parmenides and Republic V) from 'X is not F' to 'X is not'. "

  34. Bryan, Jenny. 2012. Likeness and Likelihood in the Presocratics and Plato. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Contents: Acknowledgements VI; Abbreviations VIII; introduction 1; 1. Xenophanes' fallibilism 6; 2. Parmenides' allusive ambiguity 58; 3. Plato's Timaeus 114; 4. Imitation and limitation in Timaeus' proemium 161; Conclusion 192; Bibliography 196; Index locorum 205; General index 208.

    "Many interpretations have been offered for Parmenides’ εἰκὼς .

    Some see it as a qualified endorsement, others as a warning that the cosmology to follow is specious. I will offer a summary of the four main types of interpretation and argue that the best reading is that which incorporates elements of each. I will go on to present two aspects of Parmenides' use of this term that deserve closer attention than they have previously been afforded. The first is the possibility that Parmenides’ vocabulary is influenced by forensic terminology. Several of Parmenides’ key terms (σήματα; κρίσις; ἔλεγχος; πίστις) carry forensic connotations. I will argue that this juridical background should inform our understanding of Parmenides’ εἰκὼς. It is evidence in favour of taking one aspect of its meaning to be something like the notion of ‘plausibility’ widely employed in the second half of the fifth century BC. The second is the possibility that Parmenides B8.60 alludes to Xenophanes B35.

    There is good evidence, in both the doxography and the verbatim fragments, that Parmenides was familiar with Xenophanes’ poetry.

    I will argue that B8.60 is a conscious allusion to Xenophanes and that, as with Xenophanes' allusion to Homer and Hesiod at B35, the significance of the allusion lies in the way that Parmenides alters Xenophanes’ formula.

    Parmenides’ use of εἰκὼς can be usefully compared to his choice of the term πίστις at B1.30 and B8.28. I will argue that, when the goddess claims that her cosmology is εἰκὼς, she is attributing to her account a kind of persuasiveness that is subjectively convincing but ultimately false. This is in opposition to the true, objective cogency attributed to the Aletheia via the term πίστις.

    I will conclude with some suggestions as to how such a reading can inform our understanding of the relation between the Aletheia and the Doxa. Here, my conclusions are necessarily limited by the fact that I will not be offering a detailed interpretation of either part. My interest is primarily in the characterization of the Doxa as εἰκὼς and what this implies about its relation to the Aletheia.

    The question of the precise import of, in particular, the Aletheia would take me far beyond the scope of this book. I will, so far as is possible, be attempting to sidestep many of the issues that have dominated recent scholarship on Parmenides. Most notably, I will not be engaging with the question whether or in what way Parmenides is a monist.' I will, of course, be looking at some of the details of the Aletheia and offering interpretative suggestions but, in the end, my commitments here do not, I think, go far beyond reading it as an account of ‘the unmoving heart of persuasive truth’ (B1.29). (pp. 61-62)

  35. Burkert, Walter. 2013. "Parmenides’ Proem and Pythagoras’ Descent." In Philosophy and Salvation in Greek Religion, edited by Adluri, Vishwa, 85-116. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    English translation by Joydeep Bagchee of: "Das Proömium des Parmenides und die Katabasis des Pythagoras", Phronesis, 15, 1969, pp. 1–30.

    "To summarize: Parmenides' journey is neither a transition from night to light nor an ascent; it is also not a collection of heterogeneous symbols, which would only be comprehensible in relation to the theoretical content, and still less a purely literary device without deeper meaning. Parmenides travels on the path of the Daimon to the edge of the world, where at the boundary between heaven and earth a towering gateway divides this world from the beyond. The Heliades approach him from the house of Night, they accompany him through the gate into the great “open,” where the Goddess receives him. Everything falls into place as soon as one resolutely discards the path upward and the path to the light, those Platonic-Christian symbols. The journey might rather—with Morrison—be called a katabasis. More correct is to leave aside completely the vertical aspects, the above and below. The Beyond, in what is probably the oldest concept, is neither above nor below, but simply very, very far away. Odysseus too, in the Neykia, journeys neither skyward nor earthward, but simply into the distance. Something similar is true of Sumerian myth.(64)" (pp. 101-102)

    (64) Cf. S. N. Kramer, “Death and Nether World according to the Sumerian Literary Texts,” Iraq 22 (1960): 67, on the myth of Enlil, Ninlil, and the Underworld: “the word ‘descent' is not used in this myth, only such words as ‘come,' ‘follow,' ‘enter.'”

  36. Burnet, John. 1908. Early Greek Philosophy. London: A. & C. Black Ltd.

    Second edition (first edition 1892).

    Chapter 4: Parmenides of Elea, pp. 192-226.

    "In the First Part of his poem, we find Parmenides chiefly interested to prove that it is; but it is not quite obvious at first sight what it is precisely that is. He says simply, What is, is. There can be no real doubt that this is what we call body. It is certainly regarded as spatially extended; for it is quite seriously spoken of as a sphere (fr. 8, 43). Moreover, Aristotle tells us that Parmenides believed in none but a sensible reality. Parmenides does not say a word about "Being" anywhere, (29) and it is remarkable that he avoids the term "god," which was so freely used by earlier and later thinkers. The assertion that it is amounts just to this, that the universe is a plenum; and that there is no such thing as empty space, either inside or outside the world. From this it follows that there can be no such thing as motion.

    Instead of endowing the One with an impulse to change, as Herakleitos had done, and thus making it capable of explaining the world, Parmenides dismissed change as an illusion. He showed once for all that if you take the One seriously you are bound to deny everything else. All previous solutions of the question, therefore, had missed the point. Anaximenes, who thought to save the unity of the primary substance by his theory of rarefaction and condensation, did not observe that, by assuming there was less of what is in one place than another, he virtually affirmed the existence of what is not (fr. 8, 45).

    The Pythagorean explanation implied that empty space or air existed outside the world, and that it entered into it to separate the units (§ 53) . It, too, assumes the existence of what is not. Nor is the theory of Herakleitos any more satisfactory; for it is based on the contradiction that fire both is and is not (fr. 6)."

    (29) We must not render τὸ ἐόν by "Being," das Sein or l'être. It is "what is," das Seiende, ce qui est. As to (τὸ) εἶναι it does not occur, and hardly could occur at this date.