, a philosopher of the Eleatic sect, flourished about the sixty-ninth olympiad, or 504 B. C. Some have supposed he was a pupil of Anaximander. He was, however, at first a man of property and consequence in civil life, until Diochetas, a Pythagorean, introduced him into the recesses of philosophy. Cebes, in his allegorical table, speaks of Parmenides as an eminent pattern of virtue. He wrote the doctrines of his school in verses, of which a few fragments still remain in the collection “Poesis Philosophica,” by Henry Stephens, Paris, 1573, but insufficient to explain his system of philosophy. Plato, in the dialogue which bears the name of Parmenides, professes to represent his tenets, but confounds them with his own. From the scattered reports of the ancients, Brucker has compiled the following Abstract of the philosophy of Parmenides.

Philosophy is two-fold, that which follows the report of the senses, and that which is according to reason and truth. The former treaty of the appearances of sensible objects, the latter considers the abstract nature of things, and inquires into the constitution of the universe. Abstract philosophy teaches that from nothing nothing can proceed. The universe is one, immoveable, immutable, eternal, and of a spherical form. Whatever is not comprehended in the universe, has no real existence. Nothing in nature is either produced or destroyed, but merely appears to be so to the senses. Physical philosophy teaches that the principles of things are heat and cold, or fire and earth, of which the former is the efficient, the latter the material cause; that the earth is spherical, and placed in the center, being exactly balanced by its distance from the heavens, so that there is no cause why it should move one way rather than another; that the first men were produced from mud, by the action of heat upon cold; that the frame of the world is liable to decay, but the universe itself remains the same; and that the chief seat of the soul is the heart. Brucker adds, that there is a near resemblance between the metaphysical doctrine of Parmenides and Xenophanes, but that Parmenides adhered more strictly to the Pythagorean doctrine. Telesius revived the doctrine of Parmenides in the sixteenth century. 1


Brucker. Fabric. Bibl. Grace. &c.