Parmenides of *Elea, Presocratic Philosopher, c. 500
Parts of a hexameter poem are preserved as quotations (largely thanks to *Simplicius). The three sections, known as Proem, Way of Truth, Way of Opinion, picture philosophical enquiry as a journey.
In the highly-wrought Proem, a first-person narrator describes travelling by chariot to meet a goddess at the gates of night and day. The rest of the poem reports the goddess's words. She describes a choice between two ways, Truth and Opinion, and urges the young man to choose the former. This involves austere demands of reasoned proof, and a rejection of all mortal beliefs. Her famous command ‘Judge by reason the hardened examination delivered by me’ (fr. 7.5), is barely compatible with the revelatory format, but is a landmark in the history of Western philosophy, inaugurating a preference for reasoning and proof over visionary proclamations.Less
Access to the complete content on Oxford Classical Dictionary requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription. If you are a student or academic complete our librarian recommendation form to recommend the Oxford Research Encyclopedias to your librarians for an institutional free trial.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.