Parmenides’ Modal Fallacy Frank A. Lewis University of Southern California, School of Philosophy, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0451, USA ﬂ firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract In his great poem, Parmenides uses an argument by elimination to select the correct “way of inquiry” from a pool of two, the ways of is and of is not , joined later by a third, “mixed” way of is and is not . Parmenides’ ﬁ rst two ways are soon given modal upgrades – is becomes cannot not be , and is not becomes necessarily is not (B2, 3-6) – and these are no longer con- tradictories of one another. And is the common view right, that Parmenides rejects the “mixed” way because it is a contradiction? I argue that the modal upgrades are the product of an illicit modal shift. Th is same shift, built into two Exclusion Arguments, gives Par- menides a novel argument to show that the “mixed” way fails. Given the independent failure of the way of is not , Parmenides’ argument by elimination is complete. Keywords Parmenides, modal fallacy, scope, argument by elimination, contradictories Parmenides’ great poem works towards the austere metaphysics of the Way of Truth at its center, by
Phronesis – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2009
Keywords: CONTRADICTORIES; SCOPE; PARMENIDES; MODAL FALLACY; ARGUMENT BY ELIMINATION
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