Re: Re; Aorist Use of EIMI

Carl W. Conrad (
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 12:27:31 -0500

At 11:49 AM -0500 8/20/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
> Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> > The fact that EIMI has only the present (durative, continuous)
> > aspect is precisely the reason why Parmenides was able to
> > use forms of the verb EIMI to "prove" that time and motion
> > are illusory.
> I would be interested in this proof, and precisely how he uses
> the word EIMI in the proof.

I won't try to reproduce the argument beyond noting that it is a logical
deduction of the implications of the verb ESTI understood in an existential
sense, meaning "It is" or "there is Being." If one affirms ESTI, then it is
logically impossible to affirm any form of the proposition OUK
ESTI(N)--impossible to apply any limiting adverb to ESTI that would imply
spatial or temporal boundaries or qualititative differences to Being. The
Greek of Parmenides is difficult indeed, being in Sicilian Doric AND in
dactylic hexameters, and to follow it you need to see the Greek text. The
most authoritative source is Diels-Kranz, _Fragmente der Vorsokratiker_;
the fragments are number 28.B.1-20. Perhaps the best source that gives the
Greek text and an English version and discussion is G.S. Kirk and J.E.
Raven, _The Pre-Socratic Philosophers_. I'm not sure what the latest
edition of this is--mine is about 35 years old but I know that it's been
revised and re-issued repeatedly since it first appeared in 1957.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR