From Chapter IV., Parmenides of Elea
91. The Dualist Cosmology
We have seen that Simplicius, with the poem of Parmenides before him, corrects Aristotle by substituting Light and Darkness for Fire and Earth, and he is amply borne out by the fragments he quotes. Parmenides himself calls one "form" Light, Flame, and Fire, and the other Night, and we have now to consider whether these can be identified with the Pythagorean Limit and Unlimited. We have seen good reason to believe (§ 5-8) that the idea of the world breathing belonged to the earliest form of Pythagoreanism, and there can be no difficulty in identifying this "boundless breath" with Darkness, which stands very well for the [/187] Unlimited. "Air" or mist was always regarded as the dark element.46 And that which gives definiteness to the vague darkness is certainly light or fire, and this may account for the prominence given to that element by Hippasos.47 We may probably conclude, then, that the Pythagorean distinction between the Limit and the Unlimited, which we shall have to consider later (Chap. VII.), made its first appearance in this crude form. If, on the other hand, we identify darkness with the Limit, and light with the Unlimited, as many critics do, we get into insuperable difficulties.
40. Met. A, 5. 986 b 34, θερμὸν καὶ ψυχρόν; Phys. A, 5. 188 a 20; De gen. corr. A, 3. 318b6; B, 3. 330b 14.
41. Phys. A, 5. 188 a 21,ταῦτα δὲ (θερμὸν καὶ ψυχρὸν) προσαγορεύει πῦρ καὶ γῆν; Met. A, 5. 986 b 34, οἷον πῦρ καὶ γῆν λέγων. Cf. Theophr. Phys. Op. fr. 6 (Dox. p. 482 ; R. P. 121 a).
42. Phys. p. 25, 15, ὡς Παρμενίδης ἐν τοῖς πρὸς δόξαν πῦρ καὶ γῆν (ἢ μᾶλλον φῶς καὶ σκότος). So already Plut. Adv. Col. 1114 b, τὸ λαμπρὸν καὶ σκοτεινόν.
43. Met. A, 5. 986 b 35, τούτων δὲ κατὰ μὲν τὸ ὂν τὸ θερμὸν τάττει, θάτερον δὲ κατὰ τὸ μὴ ὄν. See above, p. 182, n. 2.
44. See below, Chap. VII. § 147.
45. Theophr. Phys. Op. fr. 6 (Dox. p. 482 ; R. P. 121 a),followed by the doxographers.
46. Note the identification of the dense element with "air" in [Plut.] Strom. fr. 5 (Dox. p. 581), λέγει δὲ τὴν γῆν τοῦ πυκνοῦ καταρρυέντος ἀέρος γεγονέναι. This is pure Anaximenes. For the identification of this "air" with "mist and darkness," cf. Chap. I. § 27, and Chap. V. § 107. It is to be observed further that Plato puts this last identification into the mouth of a Pythagorean (Tim. 52 d).
47. See above, p. 109.
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