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Parmenides—father of modern thought

By Tom Nuttall  

Our big think-piece for Christmas is a portrait of the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides, by the doctor, writer and general polymath Raymond Tallis. Tallis believes that Parmenides’s model of a static, homogenous, undifferentiated universe—as described in a 150-line fragment of his 5th-century BC poem On Nature, which constitutes the entirety of his surviving works—went on to suffuse western thought and underlies much of modern philosophy and science. Parmenides’s achievement, writes Tallis, was extraordinary: “thought and knowledge encounter themselves head on for the first time… such a huge advance is self-consciousness that it is no exaggeration to call it an ‘awakening.'”

Yet,…

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