Sabtu, 23 April 2011

Zeno of Elea C. 490–430 Bce

Zeno's book comprised a series of polemical arguments that employed the strategy reductio ad absurdum against the claim that there exists more than one thing (ibid. 128B–D).
Although Plato's account fits some of Zeno's arguments, it does not hold for them all. Several argue that motion cannot exist, another that the senses fail to discern the truth, another that things do not have locations. And so it is unclear how reliable Plato (whose reports of some other early philosophers are unreliable) is as a source on Zeno. Some scholars deny that Parmenides was a monist at all, or in the relevant sense, and some have held that some of Zeno's arguments tell as strongly against Parmenides' monism as they do against his opponents' pluralism. If this is correct, then Plato's account of Zeno's arguments is wholly misguided. Others have also argued that Zeno is better defined as a proto-sophist, a paradox-monger who constructed ingenious arguments with perverse conclusions, without any philosophical commitments at all.
Despite these concerns, the text of this encyclopedia follows the traditional view that Parmenides believed that there exists only one entity, which is motionless and changeless (it has other attributes as well); that the human senses are entirely deceptive as a source of knowledge of reality; and that Zeno defended this theory through arguments that derive absurd consequences not only from the assumption that there exists a plurality of entities but also from the assumptions that motion and change exist, and other assumptions that humans make about the world.

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Sabtu, 23 April 2011

Zeno of Elea C. 490–430 Bce

Zeno's book comprised a series of polemical arguments that employed the strategy reductio ad absurdum against the claim that there exists more than one thing (ibid. 128B–D).
Although Plato's account fits some of Zeno's arguments, it does not hold for them all. Several argue that motion cannot exist, another that the senses fail to discern the truth, another that things do not have locations. And so it is unclear how reliable Plato (whose reports of some other early philosophers are unreliable) is as a source on Zeno. Some scholars deny that Parmenides was a monist at all, or in the relevant sense, and some have held that some of Zeno's arguments tell as strongly against Parmenides' monism as they do against his opponents' pluralism. If this is correct, then Plato's account of Zeno's arguments is wholly misguided. Others have also argued that Zeno is better defined as a proto-sophist, a paradox-monger who constructed ingenious arguments with perverse conclusions, without any philosophical commitments at all.
Despite these concerns, the text of this encyclopedia follows the traditional view that Parmenides believed that there exists only one entity, which is motionless and changeless (it has other attributes as well); that the human senses are entirely deceptive as a source of knowledge of reality; and that Zeno defended this theory through arguments that derive absurd consequences not only from the assumption that there exists a plurality of entities but also from the assumptions that motion and change exist, and other assumptions that humans make about the world.

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