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Publisher added books[edit]

I work for Parmenides Publishing, and I added some of our books, including new editions, to this and other Presocratic pages. Please let me know if I did anything incorrectly or verboten. Thanks so much! Reader comment: I noticed this reference;For a discussion of the scientific implications of this view see:Hyman, Anthony, (2007); "The Selfseeker", Teignvalley Press. That book seems barely available, there's a reference to it on Amazon, but no copies for sale, and no information. Teign Valley Press seems to have no website. So it is probably not a particulalrly useful citation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

An excellent resource[edit]

There is an excellent resource that logically analyzes the Parmenidean argument of motion. It is found at, and This is as much a note to myself to add it later as to see what anyone else thinks about putting an outside resource on this page.

Vacuums are not Voids[edit]

It ought to be clarified that the conception of void and vacuum are fundementally different in many respects. Whereas the void is an absolute, vacuums are not. Even the vacuum of space is not a true emptiness, nor does it connect itself with an ontological nothingness, which Parmenides was speaking of. (unsigned)

  • In c.485 BC, Parmenides denies the existence of the void. In modern day terms, this would be equivalent to stating that vacuums are impossible to create or that they do not exist. (July version)

I agree, this is a pretty serious mistake. I am going to edit the vacuum comment out. If anyone wishes to revert, please do so but place a signed justification here. - Sam 04:25, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

  • In c.485 BC, Parmenides makes the ontological argumenent against nothingness, essentially denying the possible existence of a void. (Oct. version)

I think it would be best to find the original quote. If anyone can help in this matter please leave comment. --Sadi Carnot 03:12, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

Vacuum originally meant "that which is empty or void." It comes from the Latin word vacuus, meaning empty or void. But, scientists have taken that word and now use it to designate "that which is not empty." It is unfortunate that they couldn't think of a new word for their space that is filled with particles, strings, or waves that come and go. By appropriating the word vacuum, which already had a legitimate, conventional meaning, they have helped to increase entropic ambiguity and misunderstanding.Lestrade 20:26, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

The following quotes are from Kathleen Freeman's Ancilla to the Pre–Socratic Philosophers, "28. Parmenides."

§6 "One should both say and think that Being Is; for To Be is possible and Nothingness is not possible."
§7 "For this (view) can never predominate, that That Which Is Not exists."

With these words, Parmenides states the tautology that whatever is not, is not.Lestrade 20:40, 4 August 2007 (UTC)Lestrade


I found a rather odd article at Time/Parmenides. I know nothing about Parmenides, so I don't know if it's appropriate for merger with this article. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the subject can determine that. androidtalk 18:48, May 21, 2005 (UTC)


I added what I think are some important quotes, but I'm not sure I like the quotes section. Should not the quotes be integrated into the article to explain different parts of his philosophy? Uriah923 07:45, 25 September 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I don't much like "quotes" sections, because there's no prose there, nothing encyclopedic about them. The most important should probably be integrated into the prose, and the rest to Wikiquote. Do you know about Wikiquote? I'd much rather have those quotes moved there (interestingly, I just checked and there's no Parmenides article there) and then link to wikiquote with one of our templates designed for that ({{wikiquotepar}}). Dmcdevit·t 20:13, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I feel like adding a lot of " [citation needed] " in this article, since the origin of the quotes is a bit unclear.

Name of the Goddess?[edit]

I searched through the reference links and could not find any mention that the goddess Parmenides speaks with is Tartaros. Furthermore it appears, from reading the sources and the translation of the text, Parmenides has just 'left' the underworld as opposed to entering it. Could someone double check to see if I might be in error on this and, if at all possible, discover the appropriate goddess and cite it for us? I'll post anything I turn up here before attempting to eddit the artical directly since I am a novice at edditing in Wikipedia. -- 04:34, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

It looks like you're right - it is an unnamed goddess [[1]]. Maybe there is mention of something to do with the underworld, in which case scholars might have assumed it is Tartaros? FranksValli 08:11, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
The goddess is unnamed, but I doubt that Tartaros is a good appellation. Parmenides might just be using the underworld as another device to appeal to his listeners. In the Iliad, after all, the underworld is used as a plot device to give Odysseus knowledge. Another possibility is that Parmenides is in a place where opposites (like Night and Day) don't exist (as they don't exist in his conception of Truth). --Eienmaru 22:17, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
In Heidegger Parmenides lectures the Goddess is equalled with Truth (Aletheia). -- Aethralis 06:28, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Justification for the possibility of "Thinking of Nothing"[edit]

Could anyone provide philosophical justification for the following claim found in the argument? Perhaps making references to actual counter arguments by philosophers? Noting, also, that "void" generally is a relative nothingness, I.E. the "nothingness" of the air in an empty pot?

"One is able think of what is not, and with the ability to fathom a void, nothing--disproving the basis for which the theory based--the theory crumbles."

Considering it has been about two weeks now, I'm deleting that section on the foundation that it is completely unsubstantiated. If anyone would like to change it back with references, please discuss it here first.


Re "the idea that the truth can not be known through sensual perception". In the novel Sophie's World (p30), Parmenides (and others who hold this idea) are described as a rationalists. But this article and Rationalism don't make this link.

Is he accurately described as a rationalist? --Singkong2005

I think the reason is that Rationalism is, technically, a philosophical system originating in the 17th century in Europe. Parmenides, Plato, and others surely held very similar views though, so we might add a section under rationalism for ancient Greek influences/proponents.

That being said, I've heard that Sophie's World is not necessarily that great of a source for philosophical ideas. So yeah, take what you learn from the book with a grain of salt.

"However, when one says that Parmenides "argued" something, one cannot think about "argue" in the modern sense." i disagree with this statement. although he revealed it in a goofy poem, his philosophy is obtained by rationale.

Parmenides can be described as a "rationalist" because he relied not on his senses to search for the truth, but on a priori intuitions. - Jeff Mahaney

At the heart of Parmenidean philosophy is the disturbing dilineation between reality and the world that bombards our senses everyday. Parmenidean philosophy is consistent with reality being able to be accessed by "reason"( although to approach Parmenides with any contemporary understanding of the term would be bad scholarship ), or, ultimately, not at all. We simply do not have enough of Parmenindes views on these subjects to speculate.Wireless99 10:54, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


"However, when one says that Parmenides "argued" something, one cannot think about "argue" in the modern sense." i disagree with this statement. although he revealed it in a goofy poem, his philosophy is obtained by rationale.

I would agree. Shall we change it? - Anonymous

Peter Kingsley[edit]

I originally provided the link to Peter Kingsley, which turned out to be also the name of a character from some television programme. There is however a non-fictional Peter Kingsley (wikipedia doesn't have an article on him yet) who wrote "In The Dark Places of Wisdom" [2] and "Reality" [3], two excellent and groundbreaking books on Parmenides and his world. It is, I believe, not possible to make sense of Parmenides as a logician or philosopher, and any contemporary discussion of him must follow where Kingsley has led. I believe, for instance, that we should countenance the possibility that Parmenides did not only write a poem concerning a revelation received at an encounter with a goddess in the underworld, but that he actually did receive a revelation from a goddess in the underworld. Things start to make a great deal more sense once we drop the assumption that he was just being poetic.

Yes, I removed the link to the fictional Peter Kingsley. I was excited for a minute that there was an article on him. Now I guess I'll have to start one. Lindarosewood 06:06, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

I made a very similar mistake, attempting to request an article on Peter Kingsley the easy, lazy way by simply clicking on it while on "edit section" (and expecting this to result in his name being highlighted in red), only to find it highlighted in blue (the link already existed). Feeling encouraged, I clicked on it, only to learn that the article referred to the fictional character on TV. I see that as of yet (17 January 2007) there is still no article on the non-fictional Peter Kingsley. Also, I attempted the same thing with Ameinias (from the very beginning of the article, under "edit page"), only to discover that Wikipedia redirects this to Narcissus (Ameinias was a mythological lover of Narcissus, but there was also at least one ancient Greek philosopher by the same name). Would anyone care to create Disambiguation Pages and additional articles on these two persons? Shanoman 20:13, 17 January 2007 (UTC)shanoman

critique and rebuttal[edit]

Parmenides argues that we cannot think about somthing that is not. But in fact we do it all the time. We can imagine a dragon, even though it does not exist. Parmenides' rebuttal would be that once something is thought of, it exists. There for we cannot think of what is not.

Parmenides and the Spherical Earth[edit]

An anon user added some information about Parmenides working on issues related to whether the earth was round, or flat - can anyone corroborate this? I have changed the edits into the proper format, and tagged it as dubious. - Sam 18:20, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

More on Parmenides and the Spherical Earth[edit]

I found in Microsoft Encarta the following definition under 'Zone (geography)':

In the 5th century bc, the Greek philosopher Parmenides proposed the division of the world into five zones, separated by lines of latitude. These divisions included a torrid zone between the Tropic of Cancer (about 23 y° N) and the Tropic of Capricorn (about 23 y° S); the north and south temperate zones between the tropics and the polar circles (66 y° N and S); and the north and south frigid zones, which lie between the polar circles and the poles. Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

This obviously presumes knowledge of the Earth being spherical by around 500 BC, however countless of other references (both in Wikipedia and elsewhere) seem to indicate that knowledge of the Earth not being flat was recognized some two hundred years later. --Reuben from Boston 17:40, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Decide yourself:
8:41 Where, then, it has its farthest boundary, it is complete on every side, equally poised from the centre in every direction like the mass of a rounded sphere; for it cannot be greater or smaller in one place than in another.
This can be read as description of spherical earth, but the (possible) description of zones is more difficult matter in my opinion. For the history of sperical earth please see Flat_earth#Antiquity. → Aethralis 19:13, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

influence on science[edit]

I have deleted a big chunk of stuff that describes the history of thermodynamics and the theory of gases as it has zero relationship to the "influence of Parmenides" as is claimed... Sdedeo (tips) 23:43, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

yin and yang[edit]

Surely the interpretation of flame and night as 'exactly like the yin-yang picture in Chinese cosmogony' is original (and poor) research, especially since it is interpolated into the Parmenides quotes. I don't know enough Parmenides to change the section. Dast 19:19, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

...but I'm going to do it anyway since there doesn't seem to be many editors. Dast 23:21, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 16:59, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Aetius Translation[edit]

The passage from Aetius 11,7,1 under 'The Way of Opinion' is an AWFUL translation. (I could also take major issue with the contextual translation of δόξα as 'opinion,' but one thing at a time) I don't necessarily question the usefulness of the passage in adding to the reader's knowledge/understanding of Parmenides, but that usefulness is substantially graded by the lack of competence and clarity in translation. Does anyone know of a better translation in the public domain? If there isn't one, I believe I have more than sufficient competence in written Attic to attempt an original translation - and I don't think I could possibly do worse than what's already there. What is the policy on including original translations of primary sources? (talk) 14:53, 15 September 2009 (UTC)ectodox

I googled-up a better translation, it's okay to add quotes from copyrighted texts as long as it's no more than a short passage. I don't know how useful the passage is in helping to understand Parmenides. The main problem with this page is that the entire analysis lacks references - it could certainly do with a rewrite. Singinglemon (talk) 19:57, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

atomic theory[edit]

Zenon of Elea made a lot of arguements trying to support the theories of Parmenides.There is one mentioned which propably lead to the atomic theory: If there were many beings,then their number would be infinite since between two beings should be another one.But each being should have the qualities of the one being,should be eternal,indestructible and unchanging,therefore undivisible (Greek:atomon) and this will lead to a finite number of beings.Therefore there is only one being. The plurality theory is attributed to Melissus:If each of these beings had the qualities of the one being (they were eternal,indestructible and unchanging) they could propably represent reality.This propably lead his student Leukippos and Democritus to the atomic theory.Each atomon (undivisible) is eternal,indestructible and unchanging. NIGO-- (talk) 08:54, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Parmenides and Buddhism.[edit]

Comparing two ways of thought from two diferrent civilizations with no possible connection (I believe that Parmenidis in Italy didn't know anything about Hinduism) we will notice that similar social conditions led to similar thoughts:


The reality of the world is one being,an unchanging,ungenerated,indestructible whole.The everyday perception of reality of the physical world is mistaken.We must accept what is which is real and deny what is not which is not real.Therefore we must deny the past and future which are not and accept only the present which is.

How can this which is to be in the future?How can this to be what is coming to be?


In Hinduism Brachman is described as the primordial substance of all things.It is an unchanging,infinite,immanent and transcendant reality,which cannot be traced by the senses.The world of individual objects is an illusion of the senses.(avidia in Buddhism).Karma is the force which connects the past with the future and drives samsara,a continous cycle of suferring and rebirth. According to Buddhism when you reach the state of nirvana,you realize that there are not individual objects,but only their relations in the frame of the whole.At this state the only reality is the present and there is not past and future,therefore you are released from karma.

Social conditions

John Dewey believed that the first principle of the greek dualism (dyismos) established by Parmenides is an aristocratical attitude of political stability,where the lower classes abstained from any material activity.Magna Graeciain Italy developed just as Ionia's influence was deminishing and was not able to benefit from the older centres in the East. The social conditions in India were rather worst.The division of the society in classes was absolute and the lower classes didn't have any political activity.Even the penalties for each class were diferrent. NIGO-- (talk) 20:52, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Nice original research, but what has it to do with the article? Ekwos (talk) 06:49, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Shape of the earth[edit]

I'm no scholar of the history of science, but I remember reading recently that Parmenides was one of the first people in Ancient Greece to adopt the concept of the spherical earth. If this is true, it ought to be mentioned in the article.

--Uncle Ed (talk) 04:17, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Possibly. Unlike Pythagoras, there is slightly stronger evidence for Parmenides. The problem is that none of the surviving fragments of his philosophical poem explicitly mention a spherical Earth, (although he seems to have regarded the universe, or reality, as a "well-rounded ball"). The best evidence seems to come from a couple statements in Diogenes Laertius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (3rd-century text) who says (book ix. 21):

He [Parmenides] was first to declare that the Earth was spherical and situated at the centre of the universe.

and in book viii. 48, he tells us that this information apparently came from Theophrastus. Unlike many historians in the ancient world, Theophrastus is an early and reliable figure, who is known to have collected a lot of information about the Presocratics, but he might have been "interpreting" Parmenides rather than reading a clear statement. Of the three websites you listed, the first is worthless, and the other two are from scholars writing about 100 years ago, when historians tended to be less critical of ancient texts. You're welcome to take a look at what modern scholars think [5]. Some are cautious about it anyway. Singinglemon (talk) 23:25, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like a distinction between "mentioning" and "declaring". So how about saying the Spherical Earth was mentioned in a poem by Parmenides, while it was a later philosopher who posed an explicit argument. So and so described the roundness of the dark patch that crosses the moon during lunar eclipses, etc.
Some of this info should go here in the Parmenides article, and the rest in Shape of the earth and/or Spherical Earth. --Uncle Ed (talk) 15:48, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
It would, I think, be too strong to say that the Spherical Earth was mentioned in Parmenides' poem - we have no direct evidence of that at all. The best I think we can say is something like "Theophrastus (c. 300 BC) believed that Parmenides was the first to declare that the Earth was spherical and situated at the center of the universe." I'll see if I can update the Shape of the earth page with a brief account of the views of the Pre-Socratic philosophers on this question. Singinglemon (talk) 13:41, 30 April 2010 (UTC)


Poem?Philogo (talk) 23:59, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

In the proem to the poem. RJC TalkContribs 01:35, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
I see now a comment in the article on "proem". In John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy, 3rd edition 1920: Chap 4 Parmenides of Elia includes fragments of Parmenides preserved for the most part by Simplicius including The Way of Belief and the Way of Truth however the refecnce is to "poem" nor "proem". Are there/were there two texts, The Way of Belief and the Way of Truth collectvel referred to as The Poem or The Proem Can you explain? Philogo (talk) 01:58, 11 December 2010 (UTC) PS Is this proem [ˈprəʊɛm] (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) an introduction or preface, such as to a work of literature [from Latin prooemium introduction, from Greek prooimion, from pro-2 + hoimē song]

proemial [prəʊˈiːmɪəl] adj Philogo (talk) 02:03, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Reversion of date format from BCE/CE to BC/AD[edit]

This article's date format change violated WP:ERA by not holding a discussion or reaching a consensus on the talk page before the BCE/CE date format was implemented. If any editors wish to voice their objections and reasons for my proposal to reinstate the BC/AD date format, then please speak or forever hold your silence. (talk) 20:07, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

It was changed to BCE on 2009-JAN-04. I propose a consensus be established to keep it as BCE. --JimWae (talk) 08:04, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Agree with keeping it BCE/CE. RJC TalkContribs 19:53, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
The change to BCE likely predates any mention of BC/BCE in WP:ERA (here's what the style guide looked like on 27 Jan 2004: [6]), and it definitely predated the 2006 arbitration case that gave rise to the current recommendations in WP:ERA. So's claim that WP:ERA was violated is not sound.
In any case, there's no reason to change from BCE on this article, and no reason to change from whatever system has been established in other articles. seems to be starting a dating system crusade, and may benefit from reading the arbitration case I linked to in the last paragraph--pushes to standardize on one system or the other are futile and a waste of editors' time. --Akhilleus (talk) 23:02, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

2005 case also relevant here--JimWae (talk) 20:45, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

I am restoring BCE again--JimWae (talk) 21:36, 1 November 2012 (UTC)

'Existence' and 'Being'[edit]

This is a philosophical point about the content on this page. I am not a scholar of Ancient Greek but I have studied the pre-socratics in some depth. I think there is a problem with the use of the word 'existence' throughout this article, for instance in phrases such as:

"Existence is necessarily eternal."

"That which does exist is The Parmenidean One."

I don't know what Greek term has been translated in these phrases - as I said, I am not a Greek scholar - but the terms 'exist' and 'being' are not synonymous in relation to this kind of philosophy, and I suspect the original term was nearer in meaning to 'being' than to 'existence'.

To say 'Being is necessarily eternal' is not the same as to say 'existence is necessarily eternal'. Similarly, 'that which IS, is the Parmenidean One' is not the same as 'that which does exist, is the Parmenidean One'. Anything which does exist, might not exist. So here, the word 'IS' connotes 'necessary being', as distinct from 'exists', which connotes 'contingent being'('IS' here can be compared to the Sanskrit SAT.)

This is because 'the One' is 'the Totality', 'all there is', etc. And this is not something which 'exists'. It is that in relation to which existence itself is defined. Within that totality, things go in and out of existence all the time. So the 'realm of existence' is precisely the 'realm of opinion'. Whereas the All (One, Totality,etc) is the realm of 'being itself' which is epistemically and logically prior to any particular existing thing, and which in Parmenides is 'that which is discerned by the Logos'.

This notion has a long subsequent history in Western philosophy (e.g. in Spinoza, Hegel and others). However current English does not really distinguish between 'being' and 'existence' so it is a hard distinction to draw. But I am sure many of the uses of the word 'existence' in this current article are misleading, for the above reasons.

I don't know what anyone else thinks, and also am not entirely sure how it could be written, but I thought I would raise it.

Jeeprs (talk) 01:33, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

Interpretations of Parmenides[edit]

In the section ″Interpretations of Parmenides″, in the fourth sentence of the first paragraph, it reads, ″This interpretation could settle....″ Is that a phrase generally understood and used by scholars, or perhaps a British expression? I never heard that used and do not know what it means. Could someone enlighten me or, if you believe it is incorrect, correct it? Also, later in that same paragraph, a sentence ends, ″according to Parmenides″. It just seems a little awkward to end a paragraph that way. It also is a bit ambiguous as to what, exactly, is according to Parmenides. However, I don't know much about philosophy and do not want to change this. I thought there might be someone who knows about philosophy and good writing who could read this sentence and do one of the following, for the sake of clarity: move ″according to Parmenides″ to a place earlier in the sentence, delete ″according to Parmenides″, or add the name of the document where Parmenides says this. (Though I don't know much about philosophy, I do have a good ear for ambiguity and lack of clarity.)CorinneSD (talk) 21:05, 18 April 2013 (UTC)CorinneSD (talk) 23:34, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

The paragraph is clearly mangled. Notice the lack of references. Maybe one day someone will come along a write a decent section. There's not really much impetus for this because the SEP tends to have excellent articles already: See [7] for what the Wikipedia article should look like. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 00:15, 23 July 2013 (UTC)