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Analysis of Plato's the Parmenides (Essay Sample)


parmenides is one of pluto's most difficult dialogues that discusses a nuymber of issues. One of these issues is human knowledge of reality which he claims always contains contradictions. Is it true that human knowledge of reality always contains contradictions. And does parmenides argument show he is wise or foolish?


The Parmenides is a fictitious dialogue between a young Socrates, Parmenides, and Zeno. This conversation occurred in Athens when Zeno was defending Parmenides’ monism. Notably, Socrates takes the student’s position as Zeno, and later Parmenides serve as his interlocutors. Zeno and Parmenides challenge Socrates’ theory of forms. Mainly, Parmenides uses Eleatic arguments to show that human knowledge of reality contains contradictions since it comes from subjective sensory perceptions. The Parmenides is an engaging and complex philosophical text that challenges the theory of forms using Eleaticism and dialecticism.
Parmenides uses Eleaticism to show that human knowledge of reality always contains contradictions. In the fifth argument, he shows that forms are unknowable, contrary to Socrates’ proclamation, and people’s understanding of reality is sensory. Therefore, reality is what people see, smell, taste, and hear. However, actual reality comes from understanding the world of Forms, which no mortal can access, understand or reach. Only through reason can people truly know reality as it is not a conception but knowing ‘what already is.’ Hence, human understanding of reality contains contradictions since it is subjective sensory perception and not discernment of the unreachable and unknowable world of Forms.[. Gail Fine, “Knowledge and Truth in the Greatest Difficulty Argument: Parmenides 133b4–134b5,” Int. J. Study Skept 10, no. 3-4 (2021): 212, DOI: 10.1163/22105700-BJA10009.] [. John Palmer, “Parmenides,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, last revised January 14, 2020,]
Judging from his arguments, Parmenides is a wise fool. He does not consider himself the most intelligent but demonstrates vast knowledge and wisdom. He uses Eleatics and dialectics to challenge Socrates’ assertions. For instance, after asking Socrates about the forms, he tells him he is too young to comprehend the implications of his suppositions. He then engages Aristoteles in a dialectic exercise on “the One and the many” after explaining his five arguments against Socrates’ theory of forms.” These exercises demonstrate that Parmenides does not consider himself the wisest man. He uses questions to show his challengers that their arguments are questionable, leading them to a better understanding.[. Reginald E. Allen, “The Interpretation of Plato’s Parmenides: Zeno’s Paradox and the Theory of Forms,” J Hist Philos 2, no. 2 (1964): 149, DOI: 10.1353/hph.2008.1392.] [. John Palmer, “Parmenides.”]
Parmenides calls reason the absolute truth and argument a contradictory perception of reality. He directs people not to trust the senses as they produce a deceitful show of what is. On the other hand, reason leads to the understanding that what is, which cannot be formed, destroyed, divided, moved, or changed and is continuous. This “the One” is unknowable by human senses since it exists in the world of forms. As such, arguments are subjective and untrustworthy manifestations of the world and the reality of “the One.” Therefore, people need to surpass these false appearances to comprehend the concept of being.[. Gail Fine, “Knowledge and Truth in the Greatest Difficulty Argume

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