Parmenides of Elea - (c. 515-450 BCE) The One
- The Poem of Parmenides -
- Verse (hexameter) rather than prose
- The Allegory - Parmenides is instructed by the goddess Dike (Justice)
- the "road" = the inquiry itself
- the two "horses" = the power of reason
- the daughters of Helios = intuition and illumination
- the "Gate between Day and Night" = the way to truth and the way to error, respectively
- the goddess Justice = the assurance of reaching the right conclusion if one perseveres
- The Two Paths of Inquiry -
- The Path of Persuasion -
- That which is, and cannot not be...
- Being itself -
- one (indivisible)
- unchanging (without motion)
- eternal (without beginning or end)
- The Path of Opinion -
- That which is not, and cannot be...
- Non-Being (or opposites)
- The "Path of Opinion" is gibberish
NOTE: The argument against the "second path" goes something like this:
P1. Thinking implies a subject.
P2. If one is thinking of something, something must exist in order to be the subject of that thought.
P3. Nothing does not exist.
C1. Therefore, non-being (the opposite of being) cannot be conceived.
C2. Therefore, only Being exists.
The metaphysical consequences of this view are significant, but it will fall to Zeno and Melissus to work out the details.