Parmenides' Argument

Topics: Mind, Philosophy, Ontology Pages: 2 (654 words) Published: May 9, 2007
Parmenides' Argument

Parmenides was an ancient philosopher who developed the ideas of "The Way of Truth" and "The Way of Opinion." The thinker introduced his ideas through an epic poem in which he claims to have visited a goddess. The goddess lets him see the "heart of well rounded truth" and it is through this revelation that Parmenides acquires his philosophy. Parmenides' "Way of Truth" has been very influential among modern philosophers and has had a very big impact on the way we study philosophy today.

The argument of "The Way of Truth" tells us that there are only three possibilities. Either "it is," "it is not," or "it is and it is not." This idea may be of great challenge to some but it, in a way, makes clear sense. The word "is" is simply a variable that can be replaced by anything. Parmenides says that "it is not" cannot be thought about or spoken of. He tells us that "it is and it is not" is the equivalent to confusion. If these statements are true, "it is."

Parmenides gives reasonable explanation as to why "it is not" is unthinkable and why "it is and it is not" is confused. The reasons behind this are as follows: If something "is not" one must think about something that is not. If some one thinks about something that "is not," he or she is thinking of nothing. Therefore, we cannot think of "it is not." "It is and it is not" is confused, because this idea makes one think about the "it is not." Since it is not possible to think of "it is not," "it is and it is not" is confused.

The philosophy of Parmenides, although rather confusing, is never wrong. This is because everything that we perceive "is." The conclusion of Parmenides' argument states that "it is." Since it is impossible for anyone to imagine the "it is not" nothing is "it is not." A prime example of this is the human idea of what is not. People believe that make believe characters such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are the "it is not." According to...
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