Parmenides: Being, Bounds and Logic by Scott Austin [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 40 (3):562-563 (1987)
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Abstract

This book is a significant addition to studies of Parmenides and the foundation of Greek philosophy, with interesting implications for subsequent Western metaphysics. Within carefully drawn limits, Austin conducts a rigorous analysis of Parmenides' poem that is both creative and forceful. The resultant insights into Parmenidean logic, ontology and method cannot easily be discounted. Austin claims that Parmenides uses a consciously systematic and exhaustive method to describe being. Thus, he argues, all the arguments and distinctions of the "Truth" section--and to some extent those of "Opinion"--are necessary for a complete description of being. Here Parmenides employs the principles of noncontradiction and excluded middle, and displays an understanding-albeit a partial one--of the functions of negation, double negation, copula and predicate. The most general challenge to Austin's thesis, obviously, is the charge of anachronism. Austin recognizes and embraces this challenge. His response is contained in the thorough arguments of the first five chapters.

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Rick Benitez
University of Sydney

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