B. A. G. Fuller (essay date 1923)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: B. A. G. Fuller, "The Eleatic School," in History of Greek Philosophy: Thales to Democritus, Henry Holt and Company, 1923, pp. 143-79.

[In the following excerpt, Fuller considers the difficulties and ramifications of Parmenides's logical assertions, explaining how Parmenides's work was rein-forced by Zeno through his paradoxical motion scenarios and modified by the skeptic Me lis sus.]

The flight of philosophy from the coasts of Asia Minor to the southern shores of Italy is full of ro mance and adventure. Before the Lydian Empire and all the wealth of Crœsus had fallen into the hands of the victorious Persians, the philosopher Thales, it will be remembered,...

(The entire section is 13369 words.)

Bertrand Russell (essay date 1945)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Bertrand Russell, "Parmenides," in A History of Western Philosophy, and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1945, pp. 48-52.

[In the following excerpt, Russell argues that Parmenides did not consider the perpetual change in the meaning of words, leading to the fallacy of the impossibility of all change.]

The Greeks were not addicted to moderation, either in their theories or in their practice. Heraclitus maintained that everything changes; Parmenides retorted that nothing changes. Parmenides was a native of Elea, in the south of Italy, and flourished in the...

(The entire section is 2049 words.)

Edward Hussey (essay date 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Edward Hussey, "Parmenides and Zeno," in The Presocratics, Duckworth, 1972, pp. 78-106.

[In the following excerpt, Hussey considers the proofs in Parmenides's poem, attempts to explain what "that which is" means, and summarizes the arguments of Parmenides's disciple Zeno.]

The foundation, around the year 540, of the city of Elea in southern Italy has already been mentioned. The city settled down to an undistinguished and provincial history. But in philosophy, at least, its name is as immortal as any other, on account of two of its citizens who were active as thinkers in the first half of the fifth century: Parmenides and his pupil Zeno, the former born in all...

(The entire section is 11113 words.)

G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven, M. Schofield (essay date 1983)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven, M. Schofield, "Parmenides of Elea," in The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History, second edition, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 239-62.

[In the following excerpt, originally published in a different form in 1957, Kirk, Raven, and Schofield attempt to explicate Parmenides's poem, portions of which they deem to be of "ineradicable obscurity. " Greek words that were originally included in this essay have been omitted.]

Parmenides' Hexameter Poem

Parmenides is credited with a single 'treatise' (Diog. L. 1, 16, DK 28A 13).1 Substantial fragments of this work, a hexameter poem, survive,...

(The entire section is 7045 words.)

Scott Austin (essay date 1986)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Scott Austin, in an introduction to Parmenides: Being, Bounds, and Logic, Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 1-10.

[In the following excerpt, Austin introduces Parmenides's poem and considers claims that it is self-referentially inconsistent.]

Parmenides was born in Elea, a Greek colony in southern Italy. He was the founder of Western rational theology, as well as of scientific explanation as we now know it. His innovations in logic, in the metaphysical characterization of ultimate reality, and in the construction of standards for explanation have been passed down to us by Plato and Aristotle, who departed from his insights only in order to further the quest for...

(The entire section is 10260 words.)

Richard D. McKirahan, Jr. (essay date 1994)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Richard D. McKirahan, Jr., "Parmenides and Elea," in Philosophy before Socrates: An Introduction with Texts and Commentary, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1994, pp. 151-78.

[In the following excerpt, McKirahan clarifies some of the more difficult passages in Parmenides 's work and answers objections to the poem.]


Significance and Life

Parmenides' philosophy marks a turning point in the history of thought. Neither his style of argument nor his astonishing conclusions could be overlooked even by those who strongly disagreed with him. Like Heraclitus, Parmenides pushed the limits of his thinking beyond...

(The entire section is 10557 words.)