Is Parmenides ‘Lost in Translation’?

As detailed in Parmenides, Venerable and Awesome, relying on the precise words of the Parmenides-fragments is a foolhardy endevour: The original papyrus has been lost, the poem was copied again and again and that was under the very poor standards of scholarship that existed in antiquity. Relying on specific words and sentence structures to extract meaning from Parmenides is therefore a bad idea. One should instead rely on the overall picture of the genuine fragments.

Karl R. Popper: Of course, it is quite obvious that a change of one word can radically change the meaning of a statement; just as a change of one letter can radically change the meaning of a word, and with it, of a theory—as anybody interested in the interpretation of, say, Parmenides, will realize. Yet the mistakes of copyists or printers, though they may be fatally misleading, can more often than not be corrected by reflecting on the context.

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