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Parmenides and the History of Dialectic

Three Essays

by Scott Austin


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Parmenides and the History of Dialectic is a study of Greek philosophical method as it affects contemporary philosophical issues. What was distinctive about the method of Parmenides, the inventor of philosophical argument as we know it? How did Parmenides' method affect Plato's dialectic, which was supposed to provide the solution to all ultimate philosophical problems? How, in turn, did Plato influence Hegel and our subsequent tradition?

There are many studies of Parmenides' text, its philosophical content, and its influence. This study aims to do something different, to look at the form of the argument, the scope of its positive and negative language, the balanced structure its author generates, and the clear parallels with Plato's Parmenides.

Along the way, Austin considers issues like these: was Parmenides, an absolute monist, entitled to speak at all, and in many negative words at that? How did he think that his own language related to the reality that he was trying to describe? What was his notion of the use of metaphor? What logical techniques did he invent? Has his type of philosophy come to an end?

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Parmenides Publishing
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