Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
87. The Method of Parmenides 89. General Characteristcs of Greek Cosmology

From Chapter IV., Parmenides of Elea

88. The Results
Parmenides goes on to develop all the consequences of the admission that it is. It must be uncreated and indestructible. It cannot have arisen out of nothing; for there is no such thing as nothing. Nor can it have arisen from something; for there is no room for anything but itself. What is cannot have beside it any empty space in which something else might arise; for empty space is nothing, nothing cannot be thought, and therefore cannot exist. What is never came into being, nor is anything going to come into being in the future. "Is it or is it not?" If it is, then it is now, all at once.

That this is a denial of the existence of empty space was well known to Plato. He says Parmenides held "all things were one, and that the one remains at rest in itself, having no place in which to move."32 Aristotle is no less clear. He lays down that Parmenides was driven to take up the position that the One was immovable just because no one had yet imagined there was any reality other than the sensible.33

That which is, is; and it cannot be more or less. There is, therefore, as much of it in one place as in another, and the world is a continuous, indivisible plenum. From this it follows at once that it must be immovable. If it moved, it must move into an empty space, and there is no empty space. It is hemmed in by what is, by the real, on every side. For the same reason, it must be finite, and can have nothing beyond it. It is complete in itself, and has no need to stretch out indefinitely into an empty space that does not exist. Hence, too, it is spherical. It is equally real in every direction, and the sphere is the only form that meets this condition. Any other would be in one direction more than in another.

Burnet's Notes


32. Plato, Theaet. 180 e 3, ὣς ἕν τε πάντα ἐστὶ καὶ ἕστηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν αὑτῷ οὐκ ἔχον χώραν ἐν ᾗ κινεῖται. This is explicitly stated by Melissos (fr. 7, p. 323). but Plato clearly meant to ascribe it to Parmenides as well.

33. Arist. De caelo, Γ, 1. 298 b 21, quoted above, p. 178, n. 3, and the other passages there quoted.

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