Comments on Parmenides

Comments on Parmenides - what is not,” Parmenides would...

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Comments on Parmenides’ conclusion Parmenides does not allow that you can think about what does not actually exist but could possibly exist. His argument rules out any distinction between what is and what is not but might be . Parmenides (as Ring says) collapses modal distinctions. For him: what is possible = what is actual = what is necessary. As Parmenides says (fragment 2): “it is and cannot not be.” What is cannot possibly be otherwise. What can exist does exist, indeed must exist. Parmenides is posing constraints on language and on thought, a limit on what can be spoken of or thought about: we cannot speak or think about things that are not (real), that do not exist. That means that much of what goes by the name of “speaking” or “thought” really won’t count as such for Parmenides. If you do anything that Parmenides would call “speaking or thinking of
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Unformatted text preview: what is not,” Parmenides would not even deign to call it speaking or thinking. For he could argue (along the lines that Plato suggested, cf. Sophist 237C-E): If you are speaking of what is not, then what you are speaking about is nothing, i.e., is not anything at all. That is, you are not speaking of anything, which is to say that you are not even speaking. For speaking is always speaking of something, and in the (alleged) case of “speaking of what is not” there is nothing that is being spoken of. So there is no such thing as “speaking of what is not.” An exactly similar argument could be used to establish the conclusion that there is no such thing as “thinking of what is not.”...
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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