Time and space in Plato’s Parmenides

Barbara Michaela Sattler

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In this paper I investigate central temporal and spatial notions in the second part of Plato’s *Parmenides* and argue that also these notions, and not only the metaphysical ones usually discussed in the literature, can be understood as a response to positions and problems put on the table by Parmenides and Zeno. Of the spatial notions examined in the dialogue, I look at the problems raised for possessing location and shape, while with respect to temporal notions, I focus on the discussion of ‘being in time’ and exaiphnês (the latter notion will be shown to be also an important influence for Aristotle’s *Physics*).
In displaying a paradoxical character and taking up crucial notions from Parmenides, the second part of the *Parmenides* seems to display some resemblance to Zeno’s paradoxes. I will show, however, that in contrast to Zeno, the second part of Plato’s *Parmenides* also demonstrates Parmenides’ One to be problematic on its own terms. Furthermore, the dialogue presents not only important problems that these spatial and temporal notions seem to lead us into, but also establishes some positive features necessary to think of time and space. In this way, Plato’s Parmenides can be seen as contributing to the development of temporal and spatial conceptualizations in ancient Greek thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalEtudes Platoniciennes
Early online date1 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Plato’s Parmenides
  • Parmenides
  • Space
  • Zeno
  • Aristotle’s Physics
  • Exaiphnês
  • Time
  • Now
  • Location


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