Thursday, 2 April 2015

Parmenides' Argument

After marking about half the essays, it has come to my attention that people aren’t entirely clear on why Parmenides says that change does not occur.


Here is my interpretation of his argument:


1. Change = motion = destruction

2. In order for something to come into being, there has to be a time where it did not exist

3. Nothing comes from nothing (‘ex nihilo nihil fit’)

4. Therefore nothing ever does not exist

5. Therefore, as Parmenides says, only one thought makes sense, namely ‘it is’

6. Therefore, everything always exists

7. Therefore destruction does not happen (non-existence never comes to exist or occur)

8. Therefore if (1) is true, change does not happen, since change requires destruction or non-existence.


This argument is refuted by denying (1), since not all change involves destruction in the sense of annihilation; some changes merely involve rearrangement of parts without destruction of anything other than the original form of a thing. (1) Could only be true if changing a thing (rearranging it) constitutes destruction (of the form of the thing); which, in a sense, is true; however, the thing still exists (as a new thing).


By the way, it is “Yin Yang” not “ying yang”.

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