Eleatic school

The Eleatic school was a current originated in Greece, this school developed and originated in the 6th century BC Its name was taken from the Greek city of Elea , which is located in southern Italy. It was founded by the famous philosopher Parmenides , and made up of Zeno and Meliso de Samos. Parmenides was considered its main and most important member.

  • When was it founded:  In the 6th century BC
  • Where it was founded: In Elea
  • Representatives:  Parmenides, Zeno, Meliso, Xenophanes

What was the Eleatic school?

It was a Greek school and stream of philosophy that developed in the 6th century BC in Greece . Founded by the philosopher Parmenides who was considered as its most important and outstanding member of the school, who was always against Heraclitus maintaining that the Universe was an indivisible and immutable sphere and that all the changes that happened were a contradiction.

For the members of the Eleatic school, the universe , both in time and space, are beyond the cognition that is obtained through the senses. The members of this school focused on investigating the reason for the existence of things, investigating the existence of beings and the reason for things that were already there. For Parmenides, the being did exist, and it was eternal, it never changed and denied any generation or a new being. For the members of the Eleatic school, only through adequate philosophical reflection could the truth be reached. For them, sensory observations only gave us a very limited and distorted view of the reality around us.

  • Characteristics of the Eleatic school
  • Main representatives of the Eleatic school
  • Eleatic school works

Characteristics of the Eleatic school

  • He opposed the characteristics that the Ionic school defended , such as the philosophy that was merely materialistic .
  • For the Eleatics, the universe is a unit that never changes, that is infinite in both space and time and that goes beyond the very cognition that our own senses give us.
  • They led us to the science of logic by exposing ideas through paradoxes or some arguments that are prevalent today.
  • The thoughts developed by the Eleatic school have a very great influence on the development of Western philosophy .
  • They deeply rejected the veracity of empirical evidence and experience that could be had through the senses. Contrary to this, they used logic at all times as their main tool to know the truth.
  • His fundamental theses were three and they are:
  • The reason is the only means and instrument to get to the knowledge of things.
  • The reason teaches us and shows being as one that does not move or change.
  • The senses give us an illusory reality because they always show us multiplicity and change.

Main representatives of the Eleatic school

  • Xenophanes : He  was a famous Greek poet, philosopher andreligious reformer who was born in Colophon. Eventually he went to live in Elea, in southern Italy where, according to the story , he founded the Eleatic school, and his thoughts about philosophical concepts were later taken up by his disciple Parmenides . His main work and concern was to defend the unity of God against the anthropomorphic polytheism that existed at that time. For him, God was above all human things.
  • Parmenides of Elea : Philosopher born in the year BC He was considered the most important and outstanding member of the school. For Parmenides being has a supernatural characterand its essence is perceptible through reason. For him, every situation had two paths, the first was the most perfect, but in general , men chose the second that apparently was easier, but for him, the first path, the path of Being, was the only possible .
  • Zeno of Elea : He was a disciple of Parmenides and tried to demonstrate the unity of being, saying that the belief in reality, change, movement and diversity carried logical paradoxes , forming a set of intellectual enigmas. His attitude was always very controversial. He recognized that the theses of his teacher Parmenides were not acceptable to common sense experience.

Eleatic school works

Among the most famous and well-known works of the Eleatic school we can mention the following:

  • Xenophanes:  Xenophanes managed to preserve some important fragments of his poems which were written in hexameter verses. The main sources that cited him are: Simplicio, Sexto Empírico.
  • Parmenides : Of the famous Parmenides, 20 different fragments were preserved that were all written in hexameter verses equally, these fragments belong to a whole that is a poem. This poem has been called “On Nature.” Among the main authors who cite the philosopher are Simplicio, Diógenes Laercio and Sexto Empírico.
  • Zeno:  There is not much evidence regarding what Zeno wrote, and it is said that it was a single book written in different sections. The most important is said to be based on nature.
  • Meliso:  He was in charge of citing important textual fragments of his work about nature or what it is, which are the ones we keep today.

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