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Parmenides' Reference

  • Scott Austin (a1)

First in the aether Parmenides places the morning star, which he believes to be the same as the evening star…

[the moon] always looking towards the sunshine

I shall not be concerned with the truth or falsity of these ascriptions, only with the fact that they are just the sort of thing that Parmenides could have said. Nor is an interest in Parmenidean reference new in the literature: Furth calls him a ‘hyperdenotationist’, and the word is apt on almost any interpretation.

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1 Diels-Kranz A40a (Aëtius 2.15.4 [Dox. Gr. 345]) tr. Gallop. See Diogenes Laertius 8.14 (Diels–Kranz A40a also), where the same discovery is said to have been attributed by Parmenides to Pythagoras (but for two opinions, see Diels–Kranz Al, Diogenes Laertius 9.21–3).

2 Diels-Kranz B15. See also Diels-Kranz A42 for direct statements that, according to Parmenides, the moon gets its light from the sun.

3 See Furth Montgomery, ‘Elements of Eleatic Ontology’, Journal of the History of Philosophy 7 (1968), 111–32, reprinted in Mourelatos A. P. D., ed., The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays (Garden City, 1974), pp. 241–70.

4 These lines have been interpreted several ways (see Gallop David, Parmenides of Elea: Fragments [Toronto, 1984], pp. 70–1). Here I follow Woodbury and others in reading τinline-graphic π⋯ντ '⋯ν⋯μαοται which draws a connection between mortal contraries and reality without relegating the former to the status of being mere names. I follow Gallop in adopting Burnyeat's translation in 38–9. The quoted translation of the sentence as a whole is from my Parmenides: Being, Bounds, and Logic (New Haven, 1986), p. 165.

5 I thank Texas A&M University for research support; A. P. D. Mourelatos for first drawing my attention to these fragments; and the Editors for some further valuable suggestions.

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The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
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