Episode 4 – Parmenides and Monism

 

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Parmenides and Monism: What Exists Is Uncreated and Imperishable

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“We can speak and think only of what exists. And what exists is uncreated and imperishable for it is whole and unchanging and complete. It was not or nor shall be different since it is now, all at once, one and continuous.”

Parmenides was a Presocratic Monistic philosopher who lived in Elea in the 5th century BC. He came to his peculiar and paradoxical outlook by strictly following logical deduction and reasoning.

His reasoning skills where without a doubt exceptional, however they did lead him to make some extremely divisive claims about the nature of reality which have left many philosophers perplexed and alienated.

He asserted throughout his philosophical life that our experience of the world is an illusion and that we are deluded into believing that motion is possible, change is possible, birth and death are possible and so on.

“Everything of which you can say ‘it has been’ or ‘it will be’ is not: of the existent you can never say ‘it is not’.”

He is credited as being a founder of the eleatic school along with Zeno and Melissus of Elea. It was Zeno who came to be one of parmenides biggest proponents; Zeno created several ‘paradoxes’ in order to defend and easily circulate his ‘mentors’ philosophy.

The work of Parmenides greatly influenced Plato. He also influenced later thinkers such as Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz who all made similar attempts at pure rationality.

 

Further Reading