Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Explain how Parmenides' Theory of the One challenged the existing pattern of philosophical investigation.
How did later Philosophers respond to Parmenides' challenge? Show how each of the pluralists attempted to accommodate the Eleatic demands in their philosophical systems. Which demands did each of them accept? Which did they reject, and why?
How did Xenaphones arrive at his skeptical conclusions about the capacity for human knowledge?
Suggested Essay Topics
In what sense was Thales the first philosopher? In what ways could we say that his thought was continuous with that of his poetic predecessors, and in what ways did he offer a new and revolutionary way of investigating nature?
Identify the physis of each of the Milesian philosophers. How did each philosopher most likely argue for his conclusions?
Trace the rising levels of trust in pure reason from Thales through Parmenides.
What were the three questions that together comprised the Milesian pattern for philosophical investigation?
Explain the notion of "nous" in the thought of Anaxagoras.
Trace the notion of opposites through the thought of Anaximander through the thought of the Atomists. Which philosophers made use of this notion? What similarities and differences can we find in these treatments?
Both Heraclitus and Parmenides were obsessed with change. Explain how change fits into each of their philosophical systems. Are there any similarities in their two accounts?
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