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Chapter Summary

Parmenides is the first Greek philosopher to thematize explicitly the question of being, and may thus be regarded as the founder of metaphysics in the western tradition. But Parmenides' ideas demand to be understood against the background of earlier Greek philosophy, especially the line of thought that originates with Thales of Miletus. The very first full-fledged metaphysician in the western tradition, then, experiences his understanding of being in religious terms, as an encounter with divinity. Thinking and being, then, have the same content: there can be nothing included in one that is not included in the other. On this ground it might well be argued that the all-important fragment B3 of Parmenides should be read according to its most literal translation, "It is the same to think and to be" or "Thinking and being are the same". The Goddess is simply unfolding the implications of thinking being as being.

Keywords: earlier Greek philosophy; Goddess; metaphysics; Parmenides; Thales of Miletus; western tradition



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