Simplicius as a source for and an interpreter of Parmenides
The importance of Simplicius as source for the Presocratics is widely recognized, yet his interpretations of them have been largely ignored. This study presents a systematic examination of his interpretation of Parmenides with a view to vindicating Simplicius as a serious interpreter of the Presocratics.All the passages in Simplicius relating to Parmenides have been collected and translated. They have further been grouped into the following sections: (I) Biographical Information; (II) Obscurity of Doctrine, Poetry; (III) Overall Discussions of Parmenides; (IV) The Aletheia; (V) The Doxa; (VI) Parmenides's Argument for the Unity of Being; (VII) Plato on Parmenides; (VIII) Aristotle on Parmenides; (IX) Others on Parmenides. Each section contains a summary; for I-V commentary is provided. The verses of Parmenides quoted by Simplicius, along with variant readings, as reported in CAG VII, IX are presented in an Appendix. A chapter each is devoted to Plato and Parmenides, Aristotle and Parmenides, and Parmenides in the later tradition.Simplicius elaborates an interpretation of Parmenides based on a close reading of his poem. He holds that the Aletheia and the Doxa treat of the noetic and phenomenal orders respectively. His quotations and interpretation center on proving that Parmenides's one being is to be equated with the intelligible ((tau)(omicron) (nu)(omicron)(eta)(tau)(omicron)(nu)), which as the first stage of emanation in the hypostasis of intellect is the final cause of all existence. Simplicius neglects the Doxa largely because he finds its doctrines crude, though in accord with those of other physicists. He insists that Parmenides did not annihilate the physical world, but rather granted it 'seeming being'. His interpretation is meant to refute the criticisms of Parmenides by Plato, Aristotle, and Alexander.While Simplicius's quotations are a rule accurate, he does not invariably rely on his manuscript of Parmenides. In light of this fact, the authenticity of the so-called "Cornford-Fragment" is challenged.