published on December 15, 2017
Parmenides on Reason and Revelation
In this paper, the author argues that the revelatory form Parmenides gives his poem poses considerable problems for the account of being contained therein. The poem moves through a series of problems, each building on the last: the problem of particularity, the cause of human wandering that the goddess would have us ascend beyond (B1); the problem of speech, whose heterogeneity evinces its tie to experience’s particularity (B2-B7); the problem of justice, which motivates man’s ascent from his “insecure” place in being, only ultimately to undermine it (B8.1-49); and finally the question of the good, the necessary consequence of man’s place in being as being out-of-place in being (B8.50-B19). What emerges is a Socratic reading of Parmenides’s poem, a view that Plato appears to have shared by using Parmenides and his Eleatic stranger to frame the bulk of Socrates’s philosophic activity.