The Eleatics and the Projects of Ontology

Rose Cherubin

Resumo


Parmenides provides the earliest surviving Greek example of a thematic reflection on to eon, being or what-is; and on mē eon, not-being or what-is-not. His work was crucial to the framing of ontological questions and statements in later work. Zeno and Melissus made what-is or being (to on or to eon) a central focus and engaged directly with Parmenides’ reasoning and concerns.

        Within philosophy, the term ‘ontology’ may signify a study of the nature of being, or of what it is to be. Another important use of ‘ontology’ signifies a set of claims about the nature and number of being or what is, a kind of cataloguing.

        How best can we characterize what the Eleatics’ work has to do with ontology? In what if any ways, and in what if any contexts, can Parmenides, Zeno, or Melissus be said to study the nature of being or of what is? In what if any senses can Parmenides, Zeno, or Melissus be said to provide an account of the nature or number of being or of what is? Does any of the three espouse such an account; or do they engage with that kind of account in some other way? 

        I will argue that we find in the Eleatics three distinct approaches to ontological questions. I will suggest that Parmenides and Zeno, and likely Melissus, investigated the possibility of research into the nature and number of being as a problem; and cautioned against espousing direct unconditional accounts of the nature of what-is.

Palavras-chave


Parmenides; Zeno; Melissus; ontology; inference; inquiry; language; not-being; contradiction

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Referências


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.47661/afcl.v14i27.39982

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