While contrasting the ontological systems of Parmenides and Kabbalists may seem arbitrary, I hope it will not be fruitless.
For now, I'm aiming to examine one specific concept: Ein Sof. As wiki puts it, sourcing the Zohar:
Ein Sof: Before He gave any shape to the world, before He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without resemblance to anything else. Who then can comprehend how He was before the Creation? Hence it is forbidden to lend Him any form or similitude, or even to call Him by His sacred name, or to indicate Him by a single letter or a single point.
I will attempt to frame this in philosophical terms. Ein Sof is the unconditional, the unknowable. However, convention among Kabbalists suggests that while one cannot proclaim what Ein Sof is, one can make a correct assertion by saying what Ein Sof is not. In fact, that is the only way permissible to assert the qualities of Ein Sof. I'm not an expert on Kabbalah, but as far as I know, this would resemble:
- Ein Sof is holy [invalid]
- Ein Sof is not evil [valid]
It is at this juncture where the ontological framework of Parmenides seems to offer an interesting counter-perspective. Recall that he asserts:
If you are speaking of what is not, then what you are speaking about is nothing, i.e., is not anything at all. That is, you are not speaking of anything, which is to say that you are not even speaking. For speaking is always speaking of something, and in the (alleged) case of “speaking of what is not” there is nothing that is being spoken of. So there is no such thing as “speaking of what is not.”
- ∀x (◇Tx → ◇Ex)
- ∀x (¬Ex → ¬◇Ex)
- ∀x (◇Ex → Ex)
- ∀x (◇Tx → Ex)
- ∀x (¬Ex→ ¬◇Tx)
Intuitively, it seems that by Parmenides' framework, if one is speaking about what is not, this reduces to nothing. It follows that if one is unable to articulate what Ein Sof is, rather only what it is not, then under Parmenides' logic, Ein Sof must not exist. But I would like to explore, formally, if that's the case.
Is it possible to derive a case where Ein Sof can exist while still observing Parmenides' ontological bounds/rules?
Formally, referring to 4 above: (A thing can be thought about only if it exists.) Perhaps: Though Ein Sof exists but there are limits on how it can be thought of Or: Ein Sof doesn't exist in the conventional sense, hence the caveats on order when thinking about it
These also make intuitive sense to me, but the logic is starting to become too blurry to formalize a solution to square Ein Sof with Parmenides.