28 March – Chiara Ferella

Deliberate metaphor use in Parmenides’ two ways of enquiry

In the extant fragments of early Greek thinkers we repeatedly find theories and accounts of natural phenomena which appear to consist of nothing but an image or a metaphor. “To them (i.e. to the early Greek thinkers) it may have seemed ‘explanation’ enough of an obscure problem to suggest an image from more familiar experience” (Lloyd 1966: 228-9). However, the identification of metaphors – above all of deliberate metaphors – in ancient texts is problematic, because of the lack of elicitation (due to there being no test subjects), of the lack of cultural background, of proximity to the spoken language, and so on. This research meeting will focus on how Greek language marks deliberate metaphor use in early philosophical texts. Specifically, I will look through the extant fragments of Parmenides of Elea (first half of the fifth century BCE), and present devices indicating deliberate metaphor use in the introduction to his philosophical discourse. In conclusion, I shall attempt to outline which argumentative purposes Parmenides aimed to fulfil through deliberate metaphor use.

Potgieterszaal, University Library
Singel 421-427
1012 WP Amsterdam