Skip to main content
×
Home

Parmenides' Two Ways

  • F. M. Cornford (a1)
Abstract

The object of this paper is to determine the relations between the two parts of Parmenides' poem: the Way of Truth, which deduces the necessary properties of a One Being, and the False Way, which contains a cosmogony based on ‘what seems to mortals, in which there is no true belief.’

Copyright
References
Hide All

page 97 note 1 Zeller-Nestle, I7 723 ff.

page 97 note 2 I take κατ τν λγον to refer to Parmenides' use of λγος: Frag, 1, 36 κρῖναι δ λγῳ, following the warning against the senses.

page 98 note 1 Theophrastus (Dox. 482) adds nothing to Aristotle's account: Παρμενίδης … π' μϕοτέρας ἦλθε τς δος. κα γρ ὡς ίδιν στι τ πν ποϕαίνεται κα γένεσιν ποδιδναι πειρται τν ντων οὐχ μοίως περ μϕοτέρων δοξζων, λλ κατ' λήθειαν μν (=κατ τν λγον, Ar.) ἒν τ πν κα γένητον κα σϕαιροειδς ὑπολαμβνων, κατ δξαν δ τν πολλν εἰς τ γένεσιν ποδοναι τν ϕαινομένων δο ποιν τς ρχς πρ κα γν. The phrase κατ δξαν τν πολλν is not an interpretation but simply a prose paraphrase of Parmenides' βροτν δξαι and οὕτω δ κατ δξαν ἔϕυ τδε (Frag. 19); it tells us nothing beyond what we can learn from the poem itself. Theophrastus follows Aristotle in thinking that Parmenides himself (not merely his poem) ‘followed both ways’ (not the Way of Truth only) and ‘tried to give an account of the origin of things’ (not only to draw up a list of the false doctrines of others).

page 98 note 2 μν ὅπως ἔστι τε (Simplic. ἔστι γε, Procl.) κα ὡς οὐκ ἔστι μ εἶναι. The lack of any subject for ἔστι suggests that Parmenides wrote μν ὅπως ν ἔστι κα ὡς, κτλ. At 8, 12 γε was inserted similarly in Simplic. F ἔκ γε μ ντος to fill up the metre after κ μ ντος (DE) had come to be written for κ μ ντος.

page 99 note 1 The rest of this Fragment is quoted below.

page 99 note 2 Burnet (E.G.P. 3, 173), for instance, actually translates: ‘the only two ways of search that can be thought of.’

page 99 note 3 The account here given of the three Ways owes much to Reinhardt , Parmenides (1916), and Gomperz' H. valuable Psychologische Beobachtangen an griech. Philosophen (1924). I differ from Gomperz (p. 8) in that he regards the first Way of untruth (Frag. 4) as a way that can be followed, though only to false conclusions, the second (Frag. 6) as no way at all. Both critics rightly agree with Zeller in rejecting Bernays' identification of the second false Way (6, 4–9) with Heracleiteanism.

page 100 note 1 By W. Kranz, with the approval of Diels , Vors. 4te Aufl. (1922), i, xxviii.

page 100 note 2 This abusive denunciation of βροτο εἰδτες οὐδέν (uninitiate, in contrast with οἰ ε༰δτες, οἱ σοϕοί) may be traditional feature borrowed from the literature of mystic revelation. Cf. Kern, Orphic. Frag. 233 (=Abel, 76) θρές τ' οἰωνοί τε β ρ ο τ ν τ' ετώσια ϕ λ α, | χθεα γῖς, εἴδωλα τετυγμένα, μ η δ α μ μ η δ ν | ε ἰ δ τ ε ς, followed by lines in imitation on Hom. Hymn to Demeter 256 ν ή ι δ ε ς ν θ ρ ω π ο ι κα ϕρδμονες οὔτ' γαθοῖο | αἶσαν περχομένου προγνώμεναι οὔτε κακοῖο. Aristoph. Birds, 685 (Parabasis) ἄγε δ ϕσιν ἄνδρες μαυρβιοι, ϕλλων γενεᾷ προσμοιοι, | λιγοδρανέες, πλσματα πηλο, σκιοειδέα ϕ λ' μενην, κτλ.

page 100 note 3 εἶναι μ ντα, not the Way of Not-being, but the mortal belief just mentioned ‘that it is and it is not,’ i.e. that what-is-not can be by becoming or change.

page 100 note 4 I take ν, understood, to be the subject of the infinitives in lines 40–41, but the sense is the same if the infinitives are taken in apposition to ὅσσα.

page 101 note 1 Δοκεῖν and ϕαίνεσθαι have the same wide sense in the doctrine of Parmenides' antagonist, Protagoras, as Plato shows in his dialectical criticism of Protagoras in the Theaetetus. At the outset (152B) the ‘ϕαίνεται’ of οἶα μν μο ϕαίνεται τοιατα μν ἔστιν μοί is equated with Theaetetus' αἰσθνεσθαι (=πιστήμη). Later, the distinction between αἴσθησις and δξα (belief, judgment) is clearly drawn, but Protagoras in the Βοήθεια (167A) is represented as not making any such distinction: οὔτε γρ τ μ ντα δυνατν δοξσαι οὔτε ἄλλα παρ' ἂ ἂν πσχη, τατα δ ε ληθ, ‘a man cannot judge or believe what is not, nor anything beyond the affections he experiences (in sensation and perception), and these are always true.’ And further what seems right to any community is right for it so long as it thinks so: οἷ γ' ἂν κστῃ πλει δίκαια κα καλ δοκῇ, τατα κα εἷναι αὐτῇ, ἕως ἂν αὐτ νομίζῃ. There is no groung for doubting that Plato correctly represents Protagoras' μέτρον doctrine as covering all these meanings of δοκεῖν. Also, as we shall see, Plato himself in Rep. V uses δξα in the same extended sense.

page 101 note 2 Πντων παλίντροπος κέλευθος is specially suitable as a description of the δς ἄνω κτω which figures in all the Ionian systems, not only in Heracleitus.

page 102 note 1 The lines quoted by Plato are Frag. 7, which belongs to this second warning.

page 102 note 2 The Milesians are treated not as monists, but as dualists, who have two ντα, ‘the hot and the cold.’ This is in accordance with Parmenides' view that all philosophers, except himself, have started on the Way of Seeming with ‘two Forms,’ not on the Way of Truth with the One Being.

page 102 note 3 On this aspect of the advance of science cf. Meyerson E., De l'explication dans les sciences (Paris, 1921), livre II.

page 106 note 1 I take ἄσυλον (8, 44), ‘inviolable,’ to refer to this sense of σλαι.

page 107 note 1 Plotinus Enn. ii, 4, 5 compares the intelligence perceiving the dark depth of matter underlying the form (λγος), which is light (ϕς), to the eye: ὥσπερ ϕθαλμς ϕωτοειδς ν, πρς τ ϕς βαλὼν κα χρας ϕτα ντα, τ ὑπ τ χρώματα σκοτειν κα ὑλικ εἶναι λγει κεκρυμμένα τοῖς χρώμασιν.

page 107 note 2 Ar. Phys. 213b 22 εἶναι δ ἔϕασαν κα οἱ Πυθαγρειοι κενν, κα πεισιέναι αὐτῷ τῷ αὐρανῷ κ το περου πνεματος (πνεμα Heidel, πνεμ τε Diels, fort. πνεμ τι) ὡς ναπνέοντι κα τ κενν, δ διορζει τς ϕσεις, ὡς ντος το κενο χωρισμο τινος τν ϕεξς κα διορσεως· κα τοτ' εἶναι πρτον ν τοῖς ριθμοῖς· τ γρ κενν διορζειν τν ϕσιν αὐτν.

page 108 note 1 νκτ' δα. There is no evidence that δας can mean simply dark (from δος) as destinct from ‘unknowing’; but darkness and ignorance are near allied.

page 108 note 2 οικτα πντα. Cf. Xenophanes, 35 τατα δεδοξσθω μν οικτα τοῖς τμοισι. The full phrase is regular in Epic: ψευδα πολλ λγειν τμοισιν μοῖα, Hom. τ 203. cf. Theognis, 713. A fictitious tale, but plausible, εἰκὼ μῦθος (Timaeus, 29D). Diels (Parm. Lehrgedicht, 10) points out the parallel between Hesiod's Muses, who say ἴδμεν ψευδα πολλ λγειν τμοισιν μοῖα, ἴδμεν δ' εὖτ' θλωμεν ληθα γηρσασθαι, and Parmenides' goddess, who instructs him both in Ἀλθεια and Δξα.

page 109 note 1 Reinhardt (Parmenides, 70), ‘Der Fehler dieser Weltanschauung ist, dass sie zwei Formen setzt statt einer.’ Gomperz H. (Psychol. Beob. 16), ‘statt einer Einheit eine Zweiheit (von der eben die eine Einheit zu viel ist, nicht angenommen werden sollte), statt des einen wahrhaft Seienden zwei nicht wahrhaft seiende Erscheinungen.’

page 109 note 2 Cf. the evidence collected by Souilhé J., Étude sur le terme Δναμις (Paris, 1919). The prominence of this use of δναμις in the medical writers is due to the obvious fact that a doctor is interested in substances in so far as they have the power to affect (ποιεῖν) the physical state of the ‘patient’ ( πσχων). Hence he has need to study δυνμεις such as τ ξ, τ πικρν, τ λμυρν, etc., and discover remedies that contain the δυνμεις το ποιεῖν required. Souilhé (p. 26), in agreement with the scholion on 8, 56–59 (Simplicius , Phys. 31, 3), remarks on our passage: ‘ces δυνμεις ne sont autres que les qualités opposées: le chaud et le froid, le dur et le mou, le leger et le dense,’ and points out that the term δναμεις is attributed to the doctor Alcmaeon (‘before Parmenides’): Ἀλκμαων τς μν ὑγιεας εἶναι συνεκτικν τν ἰσονομαν τν δυνμεων, ὑγρο ξηρο ψυχρο θερμο πικρο καἰ τν λοιπν (Aet. V, 30, 1). At Timaevs 52D Plato describes a chaos of qualities. Space receives the μορϕα (qualities) of the four elements and is filled with unbalanced δυνμεις, before the creator ‘distinguished the figures of the elements with geometrical shapes and numbers’ (διεσχηματσατο εἴδεσ τε κα ριθμοῖς, 53B).

page 110 note 1 Simplic. Phys. 143, 4 οὐδ τῷ οὐρανῷ ϕαρμττει τ λεγμενα, ὥς τινας ὑπολαβεῖν Eὔδημς ϕησιν κοσαντας το ‘πντοθεν εὐκκλου σϕαρης ναλγκιον γκῳ.’

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Classical Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0009-8388
  • EISSN: 1471-6844
  • URL: /core/journals/classical-quarterly
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 147 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 12th December 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.