Parmenides' Modal Fallacy

Parmenides' Modal Fallacy Parmenides’ Modal Fallacy Frank A. Lewis University of Southern California, School of Philosophy, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0451, USA fl ewis@usc.edu 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 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Phronesis Brill

Parmenides' Modal Fallacy

Phronesis, Volume 54 (1): 1 – Jan 1, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2009 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0031-8868
eISSN
1568-5284
DOI
10.1163/156852808X375228
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Parmenides’ Modal Fallacy Frank A. Lewis University of Southern California, School of Philosophy, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0451, USA fl ewis@usc.edu 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

Journal

PhronesisBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2009

Keywords: CONTRADICTORIES; SCOPE; PARMENIDES; MODAL FALLACY; ARGUMENT BY ELIMINATION

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