Parmenides was a Pre-Socratic philosopher who lived from 515-445 B.C. He was born in Elea (now Velia), a Greek city in southern Italy. His city was at the far end of the known world on the other side of Greece where Heraclitus and the Ionians lived. He escaped his town to study in Athens, the center of the known world. Most likely he was a student of Anaximander and was also influenced greatly by the teachings of Pythagoras. Parmenides joined the religious and philosophical following of Pythagoras in Crotona.
Little is left of Parmenides' writing. Most of what we have is a poem called Nature, a 160 line piece that has been preserved through the writings of later philosophers. It was written for Parmenides' greatest protégé, Zeno. Most of his works were fragments written in verse that were documented by Simplicus. Through his philosophies he is known as the father of metaphysics.
II Major Beliefs
Parmenides pioneered the radical distinction between the Way of Truth and the Way of Belief or Opinion. He failed to believe that what is nothing could have been something and what is something came from nothing, this diverted from Pyhtagoras' belief based on opinion and movement and change. Parmenides felt it was absurd to think that something that exists popped out of existence or something justs pops into existence. He thought that if it exists then it has always existed. This also rejected the "sense-appearance" belief that many Pre-Socratic philosophers had followed. Coplestone briefly states Parmenides' beliefs:
"Being, the One, is, and that Becoming, change,it comes either out of being or out of not being. If the former, then it already is-in which case it does not come to be; if the latter, then it is nothing, since out of nothing comes nothing. Becoming is, then, also illusion. Being simply is and Being is One, since the plurality is also illusion." (pg. 64-65)
He is credited with being the first to realize the difference between Reason and Sense, Truth and Appearance. Common sense and his word were on completely different sides of the spectrum in Parmenides' world. He laid the tenet of idealism but himself was not an idealist. He started the Monastic...