1intronotes_1_1 - Notes to the Introduction to TEXTS AND...

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Notes to the Introduction to TEXTS AND IDEAS: ANTIQUITY AND THE 19TH CENTURY For the framework of this course, I’m using as my point of departure the notion of Western culture as a “dialogue” or “dialectics” of two radically different perspectives on reality and history. It is my contention that these two perspectives manifest themselves in the texts we are reading, with one constituting the predominant view of conceiving reality, and the other contesting, if not undermining, the presumed primacy of the former. The origin of the predominant perspective can be situated in the pre-Socratic philosophy of Parmenides of Elea , who was born c. 514 B. C. Parmenides maintains that the “Real” is to be conceived as “Being,” that all thinking is in “truth” only in relation to what is . What is important to note here is that Parmenides associates with the notion of Being the idea of “oneness” and “timelessness.” Being as the “One” is eternal, that is, it has never come into being, is imperishable, and is through and through one in kind, one with itself, i.e. completely homogeneous and absolutely unchangeable. In other words, the philosophy of Parmenides is based on the exclusion of plurality and change. Thus, an event or a happening is impossible in being incomprehensible to thought. An event, or more generally speaking, any becoming or process is at best an illusion produced by the senses; it is the senses that persuade us, falsely, that there is in truth becoming. Note here that this philosophy sets up a dualistic or metaphysical worldview. (By
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This note was uploaded on 10/05/2010 for the course MAP 421 taught by Professor 19ct during the Spring '10 term at NYU.

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1intronotes_1_1 - Notes to the Introduction to TEXTS AND...

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