Logos and Muthos: Philosophical Essays in Greek Literature (SUNY Series in Ancient Greek Philosophy)
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Explores the philosophical dimensions present in the works of ancient Greek poets and playwrights.
alone; and Cronus’s son drove to ﬂight the rest of the Danaans. Yet still, why does my dear thumos debate on these things?12 Since I know that it is the bad ones who walk out of the ﬁghting, but if one is to be the best in battle, he must by all means stand his ground strongly, whether he be struck or strike down another.” While he was pondering these things in his phrēn and thumos the ranks of the armored Trojans came on against him . . . (Il. 11.403–12) Odysseus confronts a dilemma, and his
aspects from those of any kind of poetry, it is appropriate to raise the question of how and why philosophy and poetry might function together in a single work, and speciﬁcally in Parmenides’ poem. For example, what ends could they combine to pursue, and how could they do so? We have no warrant to assume at the outset that Parmenides’ use of poetic elements and form was merely a formal literary device or a kind of window dressing (i.e., superﬁcial to his meaning), or that it represents a lapse in
truth nor unconcealment requires (or ensures) that eon will have the characteristics that Parmenides’ goddess attributes to it in B8. To begin to understand the role of alētheia in Parmenides, let us investigate ﬁrst its meaning and use in and before his time.7 It is now generally accepted Alētheia from Poetry into Philosophy 53 that the root of alētheia (alatheia in Doric dialect) is lath- / lēth-, a root signifying forgetting, oblivion, escaping notice, lack of awareness. In and before the
says, was attended by the Moirai and Chronos ho t’ exelenchōn monos alatheian etētumon, “the only assayer/prover of what truly is.” As etētumos often refers to what will turn out to be, or to be true, the meaning may be that Chronos (Time) is the only one who can assess what will really and wholly turn out to be.20 Similarly, in Olympian 2, proclaiming under oath (enorkian) the alatheia aims for the great fame (eukleas) of Thērōn. In this ode, Pindar holds that what is in his mind or awareness
they thought that their respective doctrines were defensible because they were “somehow” endorsed by Homer and Hesiod. There is thus a complex reciprocal relation between philosophy and poetry—the author of the Derveni Papyrus shows just how complex this history really is—that has never been fully appreciated, in which poetry acts as a catalyst in the post-Heraclitean development of philosophy. As I hope to show, all the pre-Socratic philosophers, including Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles,