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image of Méthexis

The aim of this paper is to suggest a possible way of understanding Parmenides' so-called doxa, starting from the clear and lucid formulation of the problem which is offered to us in some recent writings of N.-L. Cordero. We agree with Cordero (and some others) on the need to distinguish between the "opinions of mortals" and Parmenides' own physical theories, usually confused under the label of the doxa or "way of opinion" (I-II); not so with his proposal to insert the 'scientific' fragments into the discourse on Truth, which seems rather incompatible with the sources (III) and ultimately grounded on the confusion –shared by most interpreters– of the ordering of the parts of the Poem, enounced at the end of fr. 1 (IV), with the "ways of inquiry" of frs. 2 and 6-7 (V). This is followed by an outline of a tentative reconstruction of Parmenides' polemics against the beliefs of mortals (VI-VIII). The guiding principle of Parmenides' physics is the mixture and interpenetration of the apparent opposites separated by mortals (VI), beginning with the antithesis 'light' / 'darkness', i. e. 'life' / 'death', the dominions of Zeus and of Hades in the traditional world vision which is refuted by the new cosmology of Parmenides (VII). But even so, the new cosmos is in its own way a "deceptive order" as well: since what-is is continuous and homogeneous, the entities postulated by the physical theory have to be necessarily fictitious or conventional; only the explicit acknowledgement of this status prevents the theory from the error of mortals, which consists in taking linguistic convention for the true being of things (VIII).


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