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  • 1 Eleatic School

  • Eleatic School

    Eleatic School, Greek school of philosophy, which flourished in the 6th and 5th centuries bc. Eleatic thought is opposed to both the materialist philosophy of the Ionian school and the theory of universal flux propounded by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. According to the Eleatics, the universe is an essentially changeless unity, that, being infinite in time and space, is beyond the cognition of the human sense. Only through philosophical reflection, they asserted, can ultimate truth be known. Sensory observations yield merely a limited and distorted view of reality. The name Eleatic is derived from the Greek city of Elea, in southern Italy, the home of Parmenides and Zeno, the leading exponents of the school. Scholars differ as to whether the school was founded by Xenophanes or Parmenides. Many of the Eleatic doctrines were based upon the teachings of Xenophanes, while Parmenides developed the Eleatic doctrines into a system of metaphysics. Eleatic philosophy served as a basis for the metaphysical system of Plato.

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