Burnet claims Parmenides was "the first philosopher to expound his system in metrical language."
Parmenides distrusted human senses and thought that truth can be found only through infallible reason, which is based on knowledge. For this reason, a philosopher must learn all things.
Parmenides says that nothing comes into being because then it would have come from nothing. Everything that is must always have been. It can't be more or less. There can't be movement because if there were, there would be a space where there was once nothing and now is something. (Later philosophers worked on ironing out these impossibilities.)
Little is known of Parmenides' life. He appears to have come from a noble family, provided Elea with laws, and traveled to Athens with Zeno. Plato says he was 65 at the time. There he met the young Socrates. Corroborating Plato's statement about Parmenides' visit to Athens is a report that Pericles heard him speak (Burnet).
Read an English translation of the dialogue Parmenides, by Plato, which provides what is supposed to be, at third remove, the memory of a conversation between Socrates and the Eleatic philosophers Parmenides and Zeno on the theory of forms.
- IEP Parmenides
- Early Greek Philosophy, by Jonathan Barnes
- Plato's Parmenides - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Parmenides is on the list of Most Important People to Know in Ancient History.
One path only is left for us to
speak of, namely, that It is. In it are very many tokens that
what is, is uncreated and indestructible, alone, complete,
immovable and without end. Nor was it ever, nor will it be; for
5 now it is, all at once, a continuous one.