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The Grindstone

A Philosophy Podcast from Purdue University

ABOUT THE PODPhilosophy is an important academic subject, one we believe everyone should be exposed to and explore. But philosophy can also feel distant and abstract to many people.The Grindstoneis an ‘armchair interview
4/10/2020

Richard McKirahan Lecture: An Aristotelianizing Parmenides

Season 3, Ep. 6
This episode of The Grindstone features the lecture given by Richard McKirahan (Pomona College) at Purdue University on Saturday, 27 April 2019. The lecture was given at a conference honoring the career of Dr. Patricia Curd, Professor Emerita of the Department of Philosophy at Purdue.The title of the lecture is: "An Aristotelianizing Parmenides".In this talk, Dr. McKirahan discusses the historical Parmenides' poem. In the poem itself, generally speaking, Parmenides examines being, that which is. The broader debate around the poem largely centers on fragment 8, in which a series of arguments is given for the characteristics of what is. The traditional view is that as a consequence of these arguments for what is, Parmenides is subscribing to a numerical monism, the theory that what is is one unitary thing. Here, however, Dr. McKirahan offers a different interpretation, one which he forms through Aristotle's discussion of being qua being in the Metaphysics. This Aristotelian interpretation does not preclude there being many "genuine beings," which would alleviate the burden of Parmenides' supposed numerical monism. Another outcome of Dr. McKirahan’s interpretation of the poem is that it gives us a better pathway for understanding the transition from the first part of the poem, in which Parmenides is concerned with the inquiry into what is and what makes something a genuine entity, to the second part of the poem in which Parmenides presents his cosmology.This is the fifth and final episode from the "PatFest" series. Thank you to Dr. Michael Augustin, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Purdue University and scholar of ancient philosophy, for his tireless efforts in organizing the conference and for helping us with the introductions to this series and the individual lectures. Special thank you to Caroline Cross, a Philosophy major at Purdue, for recording, editing and producing the introductions, and for putting the series together. And thanks to you all for listening!