Pythagoras by Riecke A.

By Riecke A.

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341–5. Parmenides in Presocratic Histories 25 Owenian line, the story becomes that the arguments of Parmenides and his Eleatic successors were meant to be generally destructive of all previous cosmological theorizing, in so far as they purported to show that the existence of change, time, and plurality cannot be naı¨vely presumed. Parmenides’ ‘Truth’ effectively becomes, for advocates of this line, a generalized rather than a specific reductio of early Greek cosmological theorizing. Barnes’s overarching narrative is thus one marked by Parmenides’ break with the early Ionian tradition and by the subsequent ‘neo-Ionian’ response: Parmenides of Elea marks a turning-point in the history of philosophy: his investigations, supported and supplemented by those of his two followers [Zeno and Melissus], seemed to reveal deep logical flaws in the very foundations of earlier thought.

50–2) and commences the latter part of her revelation by noting that mortals have wandered astray by isolating two forms, light and night, as the basis for an account of the cosmos’s origins and operation (fr. 8. 53–9). Graham takes the view that the meta-principle reading makes it possible to accept the cosmology at something close to face value, namely, as Parmenides’ own account of the cosmos, despite the goddess’s disclaimer that it will fail to be trustworthy (fr. 8. 50–2) and despite her diagnosis of the error on which it is based (fr.

6. 3). Popper conjectured that Anaximander arrived at this visionary theory via critical rejection of Thales’ theory as leading to an unacceptable explanatory regress. For Popper, Anaximander’s theory of the earth’s stability was a prime example both of how human knowledge develops via attempts to solve specific problems and of how reasoning, criticism of previous solutions, and intuitive leaps of the imagination are more important to that development than observational experience. 84 Popper went on to identify the problem of change as the defining preoccupation of Presocratic cosmology.

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