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The Verb Be in Ancient Greek

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« on: August 05, 2022, 07:38:03 am »

The Verb Be in Ancient Greek, by Charles Kahn

First of all, a word of clarification on the nature of the enterprise. My original aim was to provide a kind of grammatical prolegomenon to Greek ontology. The notion of Being, as formulated by Parmenides, seems to come from nowhere, like a philosophical meteor with no historical antecedents but profound historical consequences. It would be difficult to overstate the influence of this new conception. On the one hand, Plato's doctrine of the eternal being of the Forms as well as his struggle with Not-Being both clearly derive from Parmenides' account of to on. On the other hand, not only Aristotle's doctrine of categories as "the many ways that things are said to be" but also his definition of metaphysics as the study of "being qua being" provide deliberate alternatives to Parmenides' monolithic conception of what is.


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