Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 June 2022

Parmenides of Elea, free

Presocratic philosopher, c. 515–post-450 bce

Parmenides of Elea, free

Presocratic philosopher, c. 515–post-450 bce
  • John Palmer

Summary

Parmenides of Elea is one of the most profound and challenging of the early Greek philosophers. He wrote a didactic poem treating metaphysical and cosmological themes presented in the form of a mystical revelation. It comprised a proem describing his journey to the Halls of Night, where a goddess greets him and presents this revelation in two main parts, which have come to be known as the Way of Truth and the Way of Opinion. The Way of Truth presents a tightly structured sequence of arguments that What Is must be “ungenerated and deathless, | whole and uniform, and still and perfect” (28B8.3–4 DK). The Way of Opinion comprised a cosmology based on the elemental principles Light and Night that contained numerous innovations, including identification of the sun as the source of the moon’s light. Parmenides’ thought inspired diverse reactions and appropriations in antiquity, and both its details and ultimate significance have continued to be intensely controversial. Modern interpretations divide into three main types: those that view Parmenides as a strict monist who denied the existence of the sensible world, those that view him as providing a higher-order characterization of the principles of any acceptable cosmology, and those that understand him as pursuing the distinctions between necessary being, necessary non-being or impossibility, and mutable or contingent being.

Subjects

  • Philosophy

Updated in this version

Text and bibliography updated to reflect current scholarship. Keywords and summary added.

Parmenides of Elea (modern Velia) composed a didactic poem treating metaphysical and cosmological themes in hexameter verse transmitted under the (likely inauthentic) title “On Nature.” More than one hundred and sixty verses of Parmenides’ poem survive thanks to their quotation by later ancient authors. The ancient historiographic tradition links him to Xenophanes and the Pythagoreans, and Plato represents Zeno of Elea as his younger associate. Parmenides, Zeno, and Melissus of Samos are often grouped together as the Eleatic school. According to Speusippus’s On Philosophers (ap. D.L. 9.21–3), Parmenides served as lawgiver for the citizens of his native Elea. The inscription on a 1st century ce portrait head discovered at Velia—“Parmeneides, son of Pyres, Ouliadēs, Natural Philosopher”—associates him with a cult of Apollo Oulios or Apollo the Healer.

The Proem

Parmenides’ poem comprised three parts: a proem and two longer sections standardly referred to as the Alētheia or the Way of Truth and the Doxa or the Way of Opinion. In the highly wrought proem, preserved primarily due to its quotation by Sextus Empiricus, a first-person narrator describes travelling in a chariot drawn by two mares and led by Helios’s maiden daughters to the “halls of Night” (28B1.9 DK), before which stand “the gates of the paths of Night and Day” (B1.11) guarded by Justice. This place has its precedent not only in Hesiod’s description of the “horrible dwelling of dark Night,” where Night and Day alternately reside as the other traverses the sky above the Earth (Hes. Th. 744 ff.), but also in Babylonian mythology regarding the sun god’s abode, which was also a place of judgment.1 Upon passing through these gates, the narrator is welcomed by the goddess, apparently Night herself, who inhabits the abode within. She informs the narrator that no ill fate has sent him ahead to this place, thereby associating it with the destination of the souls of the dead. This and other details of the proem cast the narrator in the role of an initiate into mysteries of the sort that were common in Magna Graecia in Parmenides’ era.2 The narrator’s report of the goddess’s address continues through the remainder of the poem. It consists of preliminary orientation and instruction in the form of a two-phase revelation: first a metaphysical deduction revealing the nature of true reality, which survives virtually intact thanks to quotation by Simplicius, followed by a much longer and more poorly preserved cosmology, reconstruction of which requires extensive supplementation of the verbatim fragments with the testimonia (reports of his theories also found in later authors).

The Ways of Inquiry

The two phases of the goddess’s revelation are clearly marked in her announcement at the end of the proem:

You must needs learn all things,both the unshaken heart of well-rounded reality (alētheia)and the notions of mortals, in which there is no genuine conviction.Nonetheless these things too will you learn, how what they resolved had actually to be, all through all pervading.(28B1.28b–32 DK; the text and sense of the last phrase is uncertain).3

She proceeds to identify two ways of inquiry: “that it is and that it cannot not be” she identifies as the “path of conviction” that “attends upon true reality (alētheia)” (B2.3–4), while “the other, that it is not and that it must not be” she introduces only to dismiss as “a path wholly without report” on the grounds that one may neither apprehend nor indicate what is not (B2.5–8). She subsequently indicates in B6 that the first phase of her revelation will proceed along the first of these ways: “For <I shall begin> for you from this first way of inquiry” (B6.3). She then introduces a third way and indicates that she will take it up as she begins the second phase of her revelation. She characterizes this third way of inquiry as that “along which mortals who know nothing | wander two-headed” (B6.4–5), and she describes these mortals as “undiscriminating hordes, | who have supposed that it is and is not the same | and not the same” (B6.6–8). Still later, at the point of transition between the two phases of her revelation, she says: “At this point I cease for you the trustworthy account and thought | about true reality; from this point on mortal notions | learn, listening to the deceptive order of my verses” (B8.50–52). (Some interpreters suppose there are only two ways of inquiry, taking the second way introduced at B2.5–8 to be identical with the second way introduced in B6; but the latter involves an intermingling of being and not being that is quite distinct from the absolute non-being of the path “that it is not and that it must not be” specified at B2.5.)4

The Two Phases of the Goddess’s Revelation

The goddess’s account of true reality begins with a programmatic summary of the attributes she will demonstrate What Is (to eon) to possess: “What Is is ungenerated and deathless, | whole and uniform, and still and perfect” (28B8.3–4 DK). The arguments that follow in the Way of Truth proceed methodically in accordance with this program: the goddess argues that What Is must be ungenerated and deathless or imperishable in B8.5–21, that it is whole and uniform at B8.22–25, that it is still or motionless at B8.26–33, and finally that it is “perfected | from every side, like the bulk of a well-rounded globe, | from the middle equal every way” (B8.42–44) at B8.42–49.5 While we possess in their entirety, thanks to Simplicius's quotation, the program and arguments comprising the goddess's account of true reality, our knowledge of the second phase of her revelation is much less complete.

The goddess's account of “mortal notions” comprises a uniquely original cosmogony and cosmology. The extant fragments indicate that it gave an account of the cosmos’s two basic principles, identified as light and night, followed by accounts of the origin and character of the stars, the sun and moon, the Milky Way, and the earth itself. 28B12 DK and the testimony of the doxographer Aëtius indicate that Parmenides based much of his explanation on an ingenious model of the heavens as consisting of rings filled with fire and night whose movements and interactions were governed by the divine figure of Necessity. Plutarch and Simplicius indicate that Parmenides' account extended to the generation of human beings and to the parts of animals (Plu. Col. 1114B–C, Simp. in Cael. p. 559.26–27 Diels; cf. B17 and B18, on reproduction). B16 shows that Parmenides also discussed the mechanism of human thought, and the testimony of Theophrastus's On the Senses provides additional details.

How to understand the relation between the goddess’s account of true reality in the metaphysical deduction of 28B8 DK and her account of mortal notions in the cosmological portion of the poem is the most critical and controversial issue in Parmenides interpretation. Consensus on this issue has eluded modern interpreters because there are fundamentally divergent interpretations of what the Way of Truth is about.

Strict Monist Interpretations

Some understand Parmenides as offering a profoundly paradoxical account of what exists and interpret his metaphysical deduction as an argument for the strict monistic thesis that there exists just one thing and that it is altogether unchanging and undifferentiated.6 A more sophisticated variant on this interpretation takes its cue from Bertrand Russell, who saw Parmenides through the lens of his own concern with the logic of negative existential statements.7 On the Russellian line, Parmenides is concerned with whatever can be thought or spoken of, or whatever can be inquired into, and the metaphysical deduction is understood as purporting to show that whatever one can think or speak of, or inquire into, must be absolutely one and unchanging. Although some advocates of this view take strict monism again to be the upshot, others have suggested that his arguments do not in fact commit Parmenides to this thesis.8 Nonetheless, both those who understand the Way of Truth as an account of what exists and those who understand it as an account of whatever can be spoken or thought of, or whatever can be inquired into, suppose that Parmenides means to show that the world of our ordinary experience is non-existent and that our normal beliefs in the reality of change, plurality, and even our own selves is entirely deceptive. Although these two types of interpretation differ on the issue of whether Parmenides’ arguments were developed as a critique of the cosmologies of his Milesian predecessors, they agree that the subsequent Presocratic cosmologies of Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the early atomists Leucippus and Democritus variously attempted to respond to his challenge by positing a plurality of physical principles.

A major difficulty for interpretations along these lines is that they have no plausible explanation as to why Parmenides should have devoted the majority of his poem to the elaboration of an original cosmology in the traditional Presocratic mode. The best that can be said if the cosmology is taken to give a totally false picture of reality is that it has a merely dialectical status, as an exempli gratia account of the world he has already argued is illusory, though this is hardly a satisfactory view.9 Interpreters who follow the Russellian line sometimes appeal to Plato's Sophist for legitimization of the view that Parmenides proceeds from the fundamental assumption that one cannot speak or think about what is not. There, the Visitor from Elea notes that it is a challenge to give a coherent account of false speech and thought because, he says, any description must suppose that “what is not is” (to mē on einai), whereas Parmenides had said, “for this may never be made manageable, that things that are not are (einai mē eonta), | but you from this way of inquiry restrain your understanding” (Pl. Sph. 237a3–9, quoting Parm. B7.1–2 DK). However, the Sophist passage should not be taken in isolation as representing Plato's own considered view of Parmenides. The paradoxical thesis that falsehood is impossible was a commonplace in sophistic circles. The sophistic arguments, recorded by Plato in the Euthydemus, against the possibility of falsehood and contradiction are a strong indication that the sophists themselves drew upon certain Parmenidean pronouncements such as that quoted in the Sophist in formulating their arguments (Pl. Euthyd. 283e–286b). The goddess’s declaration, in Parmenides B2.7–8, that one can neither apprehend nor indicate what is not (to mē eon) was, shorn from context, particularly important for the sophistic claim that falsehood is impossible. In context, “what is not”(to mē eon) in B2.7 serves to designate what is in the way specified in B2.5’s second way of inquiry. But Plato's representations and uses of Parmenides elsewhere in the Sophist itself and in dialogues including the Republic, Symposium, Parmenides, Theaetetus, and Timaeus provide more than sufficient indications that he would have understood the sophistic imputation to Parmenides of the view that what is not eludes all reference as a reductive distortion.10 The Russellian interpretation is the modern analogue of the sophistic appropriation.

The Meta-Principle Interpretation

One alternative to the interpretations canvassed thus far takes Parmenides as articulating in an abstract way what it is to be the nature or essence of a thing generally. On this interpretation, the Way of Truth is not an account of what exists but a higher order account of what it is to be a fundamental entity.11 On this interpretative line, Parmenides’ arguments in the Truth are supposed to be programmatic rather than paradoxical and destructive, and the later Presocratic pluralists are supposed to have accepted the Parmenidean conditions upon being a fundamental, or real, entity. This meta-principle interpretation, however, faces the insuperable problem that Parmenides does not carry through on his own purported program in his ensuing cosmology. If the “Truth” provides a higher-order account of the nature of any acceptable physical principle, then Parmenides’ own cosmology ought to deploy principles that meet his own requirements. The goddess describes the cosmology, however, as an account of “the beliefs of mortals, in which there is no genuine conviction” (28B1.30 DK, cf. B8.50–52) and commences this part of her revelation by describing how mortals have wandered astray by picking out two forms, light and night, to serve as the basis for an account of the cosmos's origins and operation (B8.53–59). The meta-principle interpretation ultimately cannot account for the fact that the cosmology in Parmenides’ poem does not carry through on the purported agenda of the “Truth” to identify what the principles of any acceptable cosmology must be like. For the principles of Parmenides’ cosmology, light and night, do not conform to its purported strictures on what the fundamental principles must be like: while they can be construed as possessing some of the earlier attributes identified in the program at B8.3–4 and argued for subsequently in the Way of Truth, they cannot be plausibly understood as possessing them all. On the meta-principle interpretation, there is no convincing explanation as to why Parmenides should have bothered to present a flawed cosmology founded on principles that fail to satisfy his own requirements.

Those who read Parmenides’ “Truth” as paradoxical and destructive and those who read it as programmatic and positive both suppose that it crucially influenced the subsequent course of Presocratic cosmology. The notion, common to these interpreters, that Parmenides was the pivotal figure in Presocratic thought and that his arguments in the “Truth” forced a response from those who followed is an invention of 20th-century scholarship. The ancient tradition gives little indication that Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the Presocratic atomists were responding to Parmenides in conceptualizing the principles of their cosmologies. The atomists were influenced by the challenging arguments of Zeno and Melissus, there is good reason to think Anaxagoras's physical theory was also designed in part to respond to Zeno, and Empedocles should be seen more as a follower of Parmenides in the southern Italian tradition than as reacting against him.

The Prevailing Interpretation in Antiquity

The prevailing view in antiquity was that in the two parts of his poem Parmenides had given an account of the world's intelligible unity followed by an account of its perceptible and mutable multiplicity. His influence on Plato begins with the Republics distinction between the intelligible and perceptible, continues through the Parmenides and Sophist, and extends ultimately to the cosmology of the Timaeus, where echoes of Parmenides suffuse the descriptions of the intelligible living creature and the visible cosmos modeled upon it. Aristotle, in Physics I 3, interprets Parmenides within the framework of his own category theory as a type of substance monist; in Metaphysics A 5, he adds that Parmenides supposed that What Is is one with respect to the account (sc. of its essence) but plural with respect to perception and that he consequently posited a duality of principles as the basis for his account of the phenomena. (For Theophrastus’s elaboration on this characterization, see the excerpt from his On the natural philosophers preserved ap. Alex. Aphr. in Metaph. 31.7–16.) In On the heavens III 1, Aristotle indicates that Parmenides’ thesis that What Is is not subject to generation and change belongs, not to natural philosophy, but to the higher science of theology or first philosophy; he also attributes to Parmenides the view that the proper objects of knowledge must be immutable in this way, an idea he elsewhere attributes to Plato. Later Platonists, from Plutarch to Neoplatonists such as Simplicius, all follow the lead of Plato and Aristotle in viewing Parmenides as the first philosopher to distinguish between the mutable objects of sensation and the unchanging character of the intelligible.

The Modal Interpretation

A more recent alternative to the interpretations canvassed thus far finds inspiration in the ancient reception and understands the three ways of inquiry as specifying distinct modalities or ways of being: a mode of necessary being (“that it is and that it cannot not be,” B2.3), a mode of necessary non-being or impossibility (“that it is not and that it must not be,” B2.5), and a mode of “contingent” being mixing both being and non-being (“that it is and is not the same | and not the same,” B6.7–8).12 Since there can be no apprehension of what is not and must not be, the second way of inquiry is set aside immediately upon its introduction (B2.6–8). Since apprehension of things that are but need not be alters as they themselves change, the goddess indicates that, at best, wandering understanding results from attending to the mutable entities encountered via perception. Understanding that does not wander, and thus the genuine conviction the goddess promises Parmenides, result only from focusing on what is and cannot not be. The Way of Truth is the goddess’s revelation of the nature of what is in this way, in which the goddess leads Parmenides to form a conception of what it has to be like just in virtue of its way of being. The program of attributes has a recognizably systematic character that suggests they are meant to exhaust the logical possibilities: it both must be (or exist), and it must be what it is, not only temporally but also spatially. For it to be (or exist) across times is for it to be “ungenerated” and “deathless.” For it to be what it is across times is for it to be “still,” that is to say, unchanging. For it to be (or exist) throughout space is for it to be “whole.” For it to be what it is, wherever it is, is for it to be “uniform.” To be so everywhere at its extremity, finally, is for it to be “perfect” or “complete.” Taken together, these attributes amount to a set of perfections: everlasting existence, immutability, the internal invariances of wholeness and uniformity, and the invariance at its extremity of being spherical or optimally shaped. What is and cannot not be thus proves to be not only a necessary but, in many ways, a perfect entity.

Although the goddess at several points characterizes the cosmology presented in the second major phase of her revelation as untrustworthy or deceptive, this is not because the world of our ordinary experience is illusory or non-existent, or because the cosmology does not have her own authority, but because genuine conviction and understanding cannot be found by attending to entities that are subject to change. The necessary and perfect entity described in the Way of Truth is apparently supposed to be coterminous but not consubstantial with the perceptible cosmos. There are analogues of this conception in the relation Anaxagoras posits between Mind and the rest of the world, in the relation between Xenophanes’ one greatest god and the cosmos, and in the Empedoclean “sacred mind” that darts throughout the cosmos with its swift thought as the persistent aspect of the cosmos’s once perfectly unified condition. Although What Is in Parmenides has its nearest analogue in these divine principles, Parmenides never explicitly refers to What Is as divine. Instead, he attributes to it only what can be inferred simply from its necessary mode of being, by pursuing the implications of the initial directive that “it is and cannot not be” (B2.3). Whatever other attributes it might have do not enter into Parmenides’ conception.

Primary Texts

  • Cordero, Nestor-Luis. Les deux chemins de Parménide: Édition critique, traduction, études et bibliographie. Paris: J. Vrin, 1984.
  • Coxon, Allan H.The Fragments of Parmenides: A Critical Text with Introduction, Translation, the Ancient Testimonia and a Commentary. Athens: Parmenides, 2009. Revised and expanded edition with new translations by R. McKirahan.
  • Diels, Hermann, and Walter Kranz. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, vol. 1, chap. 28. Berlin: Weidmann, 1951.
  • Kirk, Geoffrey S., John E. Raven, and Malcolm Schofield. The Presocratic Philosophers, 2nd ed., chap. 14. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  • Laks, André, and Glenn Most. Early Greek Philosophy V: Western Greek Thinkers, Part 2, chap. 19. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.

Links to Digital Materials

  • Palmer, John, “Parmenides,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta (Winter 2016).
  • Palmer, John, “Parmenides.” In Oxford Bibliographies Online, 2013.

Bibliography

  • Barnes, Jonathan. The Presocratic Philosophers, 2nd ed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.
  • Burkert, Walter. “Das Proömium des Parmenides und die Katabasis des Pythagoras.” Phronesis 14, no. 1 (1969): 1–30.
  • Curd, Patricia K. The Legacy of Parmenides: Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.
  • Graham, Daniel W. Explaining the Cosmos: The Ionian Tradition of Scientific Philosophy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.
  • Guthrie, William K. C. A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. 2. The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1965.
  • Jucker, Hans. “Archäologische Berichte: Zur Bildnisherme des Parmenides." Museum Helveticum 25, no. 3 (1960): 181–185.
  • Laks, André. “‘The More’ and ‘the Full’: On the Reconstruction of Parmenides’ Theory of Sensation in Theophrastus, De sensibus, 3–4.” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 8 (1990): 1–18.
  • Long, Antony A. “The Principles of Parmenides’ Cosmogony.” Phronesis 8, no. 2 (1963): 90–107.
  • Mansfeld, Jaap. Die Offenbarung des Parmenides und die menschliche Welt. Assen, The Netherlands: van Gorcum, 1964.
  • Mourelatos, Alexander P. D. The Route of Parmenides: A Study of Word, Image, and Argument in the Fragments. Las Vegas, NV: Parmenides, 2008. Revised and expanded edition.
  • Osborne, Catherine. “Was There an Eleatic Revolution in Philosophy?” In Rethinking Revolutions through Ancient Greece. Edited by Robin Osborne and Simon Goldhill, 218–245 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • Owen, G. E. L. “Eleatic Questions.” Classical Quarterly, 10, no. 1 (1960): 84–102. Repr. with additions, in Presocratic Philosophy Studies. Vol. 2: Eleatics and Pluralists. Edited by Reginald E. Allen and David J. Furley, 48–81. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975.
  • Owens, Joseph. “The Physical World of Parmenides.” In Essays in Honour of Anton Charles Pegis. Edited by J. Reginald O’Donnell. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1974: 378–395.
  • Palmer, John. Plato’s Reception of Parmenides. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999.
  • Palmer, John. Parmenides and Presocratic Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Sedley, David N. “Parmenides and Melissus.” In The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy. Edited by Anthony A. Long, 113–133 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

Notes

  • 1. See Maja E. Pellikaan-Engel, Hesiod and Parmenides: A New View on their Cosmologies and on Parmenides’ Proem (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1978); and Laura D. Steele, “Mesopotamian elements in the Proem of Parmenides? Correspondences between the Sun-Gods Helios and Shamash,” Classical Quarterly 52, no. 2 (2002): 583–588.

  • 2. See Walter Burkert, “'Das Proömium des Parmenides und die Katabasis des Pythagoras,” Phronesis 14, no. 1 (1969): 1–30; and Barbara Feyerabend, “Zur Wegmetaphorik beim Goldblättchen aus Hipponion und dem Proömium des Parmenides,” Rheinisches Museum 127, no. 1 (1984): 1–22.

  • 3. Jaap Mansfeld, “Insight by Hindsight: Intentional Unclarity in Presocratic Proems,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 40 (1995), 225–232, at 230 pronounces the translation of B8.31b–32 DK “desperately difficult” and “intentionally obscure.” The most relevant comparanda for the sense of the phrase τὰ δοκεῦντα‎ here, indicating that it is best translated as “what they resolved” rather than “what is believed,” are Aesch. Sept. 1005–1006 and Soph. Aj. 1049–1050. Mortals are subsequently described by Parmenides’ goddess as “fixing their minds” or resolving “to name two forms” (B8.53 DK), and the objects of that resolution are proleptically, if obscurely, described here as τὰ δοκεῦντα‎ or “what they resolved.”

  • 4. Most notably, Néstor-Luis Cordero, Les deux chemins de Parménide: Édition critique, traduction, études et bibliografie (Paris: J. Vrin, 1984).

  • 5. This final argument for completeness or perfection follows the arguments for the previous attributes without interruption on the restoration of the displaced vv. 34–41 to their original position following v. 52 proposed by Theodor Ebert, “Wo beginnt der Weg der Doxa? Eine Textumstellung im Fragment 8 des Parmenides” Phronesis, 34, no. 2 (1989): 121–138.

  • 6. This interpretation of Parmenides as a strict monist is influentially represented in William K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. 2 (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1965).

  • 7. The influence of the brief treatment of Parmenides in Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1945), 49–50, is apparent in the landmark study by Gwilym E. L. Owen, “Eleatic Questions,” Classical Quarterly, 10, no. 1 (1960): 84–102, which argued that Parmenides was driven by purely logical considerations regarding the possibility of speaking or thinking about what does not exist.

  • 8. See Jonathan Barnes, “Parmenides and the Eleatic One,” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 61, no. 1 (1979): 1–21.

  • 9. Thus, Anthony A. Long, “The Principles of Parmenides’ Cosmogony” Phronesis 8, no. 2 (1963): 90–107; at 107: “The cosmogony . . . is dialectical in the sense that Parmenides makes no claims for its truth; but by virtue of its plausible and comprehensive doctrines which are dismissed before they are begun, it demonstrates that the sensible world has an insidious appearance which is not to be conceded any validity.”

  • 10. See Part II of John Palmer, Plato's Reception of Parmenides (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999).

  • 11. This interpretative line originates with the suggestion by Alexander P. D. Mourelatos in The Route of Parmenides (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1970), that Parmenides employs a special predicative sense of the verb einai, where the predicate in statements of the form “X is Y” gives X’s reality, nature, or true constitution. Patricia K. Curd, The Legacy of Parmenides (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998) would develop this suggestion into an interpretation of Parmenides as a “predicational monist” in “Parmenidean monism,” Phronesis 36, no. 3 (1991), 241–264, and in The Legacy of Parmenides (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998).

  • 12. See John Palmer, Parmenides and Presocratic Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).