Parmenides Biography

Parmenides was born in the Greek city of Elea at a time that can only be guessed to be between 540 BCE and 515 BCE. This is because only one surviving work of his exists now today and it is a poem broken up into fragments. But much of his life and philosophy has been noted by other accredited resources such as Herodotus, Plato, and Socrates. It is agreeable though that Parmenides flourished before 500 BCE, during this time he began his reputation as one of the famous pre Socratic philosophers.

He started the school of Elea, also known as the Eleatic school, but this is often confused with Xenophanes as the originator. But this has also been confused with Parmenides possibly being Xenophanes' pupil, but it has been said that Xenophanes' philosophy has been influential on Parmenides. He was and still is a huge inspiration to readers all around, and is known as one of the first of western society's philosophers. Zeno was recognized as one of his greatest pupils, while Plato always spoke of Parmenides with high regard, even devoting a chapter to him entitled '‹Å"Parmenides'. Plato even mentions that Parmenides at 65 may have come across a young Socrates in Athens.

Parmenides main interests of philosophy were in metaphysics and ontology, his surviving work which only survived in fragmentary form, On Nature, describes two views of reality. In some fragments of the poem he speaks about the universe and all existence as '‹Å"never ending' and unchanging and considers this '‹Å"the way of truth.' And in other fragments of his poem he speaks of the entire universe as in just appearance that this appearance is deceitful and is wrong. He considers this as '‹Å"the way of opinion.' His work and philosophy that separated the duality of reality versus just appearance was the first of its kind.


"Parmenides. Fragments and Commentaries ." By Arthur Fairbanks.