Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
161. The Unit 163. Motion

From Chapter VIII., The Younger Eleatics

162. Space
Aristotle refers to an argument which seems to be directed against the Pythagorean doctrine of space,34 and Simplicius quotes it in this form:35

If there is space, it will be in something; for all that is is in something, and what is in something is in space. So space will be in space, and this goes on ad infinitum, therefore there is no space. R. P. 135.

What Zeno is really arguing against here is the attempt to distinguish space from the body that occupies it. If we insist that body must be in space, then we must go on to ask what space itself is in. This is a "reinforcement" of the Parmenidean denial of the void. Possibly the argument that everything must be "in" something, or must have something beyond it, had been used against the Parmenidean theory of a finite sphere with nothing outside it.

Burnet's Notes


35. Simpl. Phys. p. 562, 3 (R. P. 135). The version of Eudemos is given in Simpl. Phys. p. 563, 26, ἀξιοῖ γὰρ πᾶν τὸ ὂν ποῦ εἶναι· εἰ δὲ ὁ τόπος τῶν ὄντων, ποῦ ἂν εἴη; οὐκοῦν ἐν ἄλλῳ τόπῳ κἀκεῖνος δὴ ἐν ἄλλῳ καὶ οὕτως εἰς τὸ πρόσω..

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