Parmenides Plato and Mortal Philosophy
In a new interpretation of Parmenides’ philosophical poem On Nature, Vishwa Adluri considers Parmenides as a thinker of mortal singularity, a thinker who is concerned with the fate of irreducibly unique individuals. Adluri argues that the tripartite division of Parmenides’ poem allows the thinker to brilliantly hold together the paradox of speaking about being in time and articulates a tragic knowing: mortals may aspire to the transcendence of metaphysics, but are inescapably returned to their mortal condition. Hence, Parmenides’ poem articulates a “tragic return”, i.e., a turn away from metaphysics to the community of mortals. In this interpretation, Parmenides’ philosophy resonates with post-metaphysical and contemporary thought. The themes of human finitude, mortality, love, and singularity echo in thinkers such as Arendt, and Schürmann as well. Parmenides, Plato and Mortal Philosophy also includes a complete new translation of ‘On Nature’ and a substantial overview and bibliography of contemporary scholarship on Parmenides.
From the Foreword by Luc Brisson
On reading this book, I was struck by Dr. Adluri’s insight into the nature of Parmenides’ poem as a whole, and his arguments for the relevance of ancient thought to contemporary philosophy, and I was touched by the relationship established between this research in the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophical problems…. All this results in a book that is clear and engaging, for philosophical reflection anchored within the history of Greek philosophy remains linked to a personal approach, consisting in a twofold reaction with regard to love and death. Dr. Adluri thus escapes two pitfalls: that of pure erudition, and that of intellectual biography. The erudite reading of ancient texts is constantly oriented by a contemporary philosophical questioning. This is what makes this book so engaging.
This brilliant and profound study is a compelling reinterpretation of Parmenides. But it is much more than this. It invites a re-reading not only of the western philosophical tradition inaugurated by Parmenides and Plato but also of ourselves as mortals dreaming of immortality. Adluri’s deeply personal and inspired interpretation of philosophy’s beginning points the way to its future. Raymond Tallis
Stands out for the radicality of its argument, the subtlety of its interdisciplinary interpretations, and the forthright passion that motivates it. His interpretive skill is on display not only in the body of the book, but also in the appendix which presents a new translation of Peri Phuseos with helpful notes. Adluri’s work deserves a place on the reading list of every student of pre-Socratic thought. Richard Polt, Xavier University, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
In this highly original study of Parmenides’ poem and Plato’s response in the Phaedrus, Vishwa Adluri identifies the leading problem for both thinkers as “how do we speak/write about the finite, fragile, irreplaceable, incarnate fate of specific mortals, when language is, in some sense, outside of time? . . . It is for those who want to think in a new way about familiar works. Students of Parmenides, Plato, and indeed, of other philosophers who write narrative, will not look at these thinkers the same again after this provocative reading. David J. Murphy, The Nightingale-Bamford School, The Classical Journal
Adluri has staked out a distinctive position on Parmenides’ poem, and it is to be hoped that future writers on the subject will take it into account. More devoutly to be wished is that others who write on ancient philosophy will make the effort Adluri has to discover a voice in which to address issues of living philosophical concern through the careful reading of ancient thought. Edward P. Butler, The Classical Review
As a classicist, I found the book to be an interesting journey into reaches of Parmenides that I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to traverse… [It is]… beautifully written and rich with allusions to classical texts and readers of these texts. Sarah Abel-Rappe, Bryn Mawr Classical Review