Parmenides and his thoughtsAssignment BITS F214313085493633Name-Srijan trivediID- 2016A3PS0149H1000000Name-Srijan trivediID- 2016A3PS0149H16379681681397Parmenides and his thoughtsHere we will start our discussion about Parmenides and his ideas following a set pattern. First, we will have a glance through his life, then his major work, a poem titled ‘On Nature’, then about his other works, his influence on his successors and finally conclude with similarity of his thoughts with the Indian philosophy.Early Life: Parmenides was born in 515 BC (this date is derived from Plato’s note on Parmenides) in Elea, Magna Gracia and had a rich and prosperous lineage. He is the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy and he used to teach a strict Monistic view of the 0584835reality. The single known work of his is a poem titled ‘On Nature’ which too is not recovered whole but was discovered in fragments and as quotations from his successors.
He is considered as the pupil of Xenophanes of Colophon but went to develop his own ideas when he differed from his master. He is one of the philosophers of change, the other being Heraclitus with whom there is his famous debate. He is also considered the founder of metaphysics or ontology. He made such staggering arguments and proposed ideas which were totally different from other philosophers of his time and later successors had to build arguments so as to either accept or counter his arguments effectively. His successor Zeno and Plato held him with great venerance and put forth arguments in his favour. First let us explore his major work, ‘On Nature’On Nature: This is a long poem divided into three parts; an introductory proem, the way of truth and the way of opinion.
This was first long poem in which a philosopher had thought through the ideas and given arguments rather than just speculate. Parmenides was thought 0588645to go to a cave and live there without having food for days while developing this poem. He is suggested to have had hallucinations.The proem: It is a preamble to the whole work. It describes a journey he once made to the abode of an unknown goddess which people seem to believe is Persephone. He is carried on a chariot accompanied by Helios, daughters of the Sun to a place where night and day meet.
This place is beyond heaven and beyond human comprehension. It is guarded by Justice who is persuaded by the accompaniers to let him pass through. There he meets this goddess who tells him that he is not dead and not has ill fate to pass through this gate and reach to her (It is thought that only the dead could pass through the gates of justice). The goddess comforts him and asks him to learn all that he can about the ways of truth and ways of opinions and perception. Here also appears the monistic views of Parmenides as he is met by the goddess where there is meeting of the night and the day because in Orphic cosmologies like Derveni and Rhapsodies, Night instructs Zeus on the ways to preserve unity on his next grand cosmic plan by absorbing everything in himself. Here she tells Parmenides about the ways of truth (of that which is being or that which is truth and changeless) and the ways of perception (That which is illusory and false and is generated due to differences in perceptions of ordinary humans).
The ways of Truth (aletheia): There is concept of perception vs logos i.e. the difference between that which can be conceived by rational thinking and that which is perceived by humans by his senses. Here we come across two ways of enquiry; of that which is and that which is not. We come across being and non-being.
Person cannot think of non-being since thinking also means being. So even talking and thinking about non-being is wrong. Anything cannot can come from nothing and then become something. Since nothing can then be destroyed or born, since this means it has to finally go down into non-being which is false. So, it essentially means that nothing has changed.
Everything is the same as it always had been. He and his disciples considered everything to be one and unity which is universal, existing alone, 01758950immobile and unchanging. This forgoes the ideas of plurality of reality which was thought upon by the earlier Greek philosophers, trying to explain nature. It was in stark contrast to his contemporary Heraclitus who supported the claim that everything is changing. Thus, Parmenides also forgo the concept of movement. According to him nothing is moving or in movement since that would signify change and is not possible, since, it would involve moving in the void, which is signifying the existence of non-being or nothing. Thus, the idea of void also was critiqued.
Here Parmenides was not struggling with Conservations of mass or energy but with the metaphysics of change which he thought to be inherited from Anaximenes and his monist teacher Xenophanes who used to believe in only one God without a human form. In the rest of the work the goddess goes on to explain the working of cosmos, the Sun, the moon down right to the physiology of reproduction of animals and working of humans.The way of opinion(doxa): The evidence here is less since, it is only 1/10th of the whole poem and is not fully recovered from fragments. Here is discussed the concept of the illusion of perception.
We find a contest between strong rationalism and empirealism since rationality thoroughly relies on the notions of logic and reasoning while emperealists rely on the senses. The path of logic is said to be the path of truth since it is unchanging while perception and senses keep on changing. Here we find the concepts of dualism where the goddess goes to explain the structure of cosmos which a binary representation of the gentle and mild aether fire of flames and the heavy, ignorant night is is essentially. This is presented in way of axiom-deduction method which was new to Greek philosophy. Other Thoughts: He is also having thoughts on cosmology which span throughout the poem. His cosmic model was a spherical system surrounded by a circle of pure light which has a central earth (like in the works of Aristotle) and is surrounded by Sun, Moon and heavenly stars which he conceives to be made of dual elements. His model appears to somewhat Pythagorean.
There is also explanation of behaviour of these elements along with milky way galaxy. He also knew about the sphericity of Earth as is mentioned in first part of his poem and the various phases of the moon. He also conceived the notion of Sun shining the light on the moon. He also discussed about reproduction and also about various plants and animals and human behaviour and rationality. He also established laws for citizens of the city of Elea. Effect on successors: He is regarded as being among the wise by Socrates and is alone known to deny the notion of change and motion.Zeno was one of his most famous successors who wrote forty paradoxes for his support. He also believed in non-changing nature of reality and believed that the true reality cannot be comprehended by the human 0393700152400546100Zeno00Zenomind.
He had very great influence on the mind of Plato who had written about 65-year-old Parmenides instructing young Socrates, in his work on notes on Parmenides. The atomists school of thought, Leucippus and Democritus who needed the idea of void to propagate the conceivement of atoms argued against Paramedian arguments. Aristotle and others also argued for his theory of motion. He is also said to have influence on Einstein who considered no change in the time block and uses paramedian approach of rationality over perception, by conducting thought experiments.
He also influenced Erwin Schrodinger’s idea by the concept of one true truth and failing of plurality. He greatly influenced Plato’s mind who 4279900243205000needed the monistic concept of one truth and one true reality. This he could not find in the works of Anaximenes where there were many different truths and realities. Plato held him with venerance calling him our father Parmenides in his Sophist. There are comparisons between Plato’s ‘Allegory of the cave’ and Paramedian ‘On nature’.
Plato is also influenced by his theory of forms. Parmenides also had influence on Melissus of Samos and his theory of souls which, cannot undergo psychological changes, since, it is changeless. He also had effect on pluralists like Anaxagoras and Empedocles who conceive the world to come out of some single unity and then produce the opposites. So profound was Paramenides effect on Greek philosophy that pre-Socratic philosophy is divided into pre-Parmenides and post him and on western philosophy that he is sometimes regarded as its grandfather.
The Italian philosopher Emanuele Severino extended his philosophy to Neo paramedics.left39179500Similarity with Indian philosophy: The bhagvad gita speaks about the unity of everything and the existence of the supreme being in chapter 11 where Krishna explains everything to be a part of himself and the concept of no change. There is also the concept of Maya which controls different senses and develops different illusions and perceptions which are not true or truth in reality.
The gita focuses on the use of mind as a tool to understand the God, who is unchanging and eternal and of whom we ourselves are also a part. Thus, it regards the perceptions of senses as false. It talks about the oneness of the whole universe and how everything is eventually merged into God who is constant and never changing and is present everywhere. Sources:Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophyLecture on Parmenides and Eleatic monists by Adam RosenfeldInternet encyclopaedia of philosophyParmenides-Ancient History encyclopaediaOn nature- Parmenides of EleaGoogle imageswww.ontology.comwww.parmenides-of-elea.netParmenides- WikipediaArchive.orgwww.philosophybasics.comwww.famousphilosophers.orgwww.poemhunter.comLecture on Parmenides by Angie HobbsLecture on Parmenides by MrSkypelesson