I know that essential to Aristotle's existence of matter and form is the existence of change and that the best contender for his view was Parmenides. But I wonder which are some other arguments against the existence of change.

  • 2
    Parmenides made a good one. Zeno makes a good one also on his behalf. The best arguments against change are also arguments against the (fundamental) existence of things that change, and this argument is made by one entire tradition of philosophy. The idea would be that the only truly real phenomenon is changeless, not being dependent on time and space. The best argument I know is Nagarjuna's 'Fundamental Verses on the Middle Way'. . . .
    – user20253
    Apr 10 '18 at 15:07

Parmenides's is certainly the best because it is based on solid principles like that of non-contradiction* and that something cannot come from nothing†.
*It is impossible that the same thing be and not be at the same time and in the same respect. †Ex nihilo nihil fit.

His arguments are summarized in ch. 5 "Article One: Potency Really Distinct From Act" of Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought by Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.:

Parmenides has two arguments [against the reality of motion/change/becoming].

The first runs thus:151

  1. If a thing arrives at existence it comes either from being or from nothing.

  2. Now it cannot come from being (statue from existing statue). Still less can it come from nothing.

  3. Therefore all becoming is impossible.

This argument is based on the principle of contradiction or identity, which Parmenides thus formulates: Being is, non-being is not; you will never get beyond this thought.

151. Ex ente non fit ens, quia jam est ens, et ex nihilo nihil fit, ergo ipsum fieri est impossibile.

Parmenides's second argument:

Multiplicity of beings, he argues again from the same principle, is likewise impossible.

  1. Being, he says, cannot be limited, diversified, and multiplied by its own homogeneous self, but only by something else.

  2. Now that which is other than being is non-being, and non-being is not, is nothing.

  3. Being remains eternally what it is, absolutely one, identical with itself, immutable. Limited, finite beings are simply an illusion.

Thus Parmenides ends in a monism absolutely static which absorbs the world in God.

see also: The Essence & Topicality of Thomism by Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.


I think this one is also against the existence of change ...If every thing is changing how we recognize a person as a same person who was known by in his age of 2 or 3...It means there will be problem of identity.. Problem of soul -If every thing is keep changing who is getting knowledge ...

  • 1
    This answer is unclear to me. In particular, can you explain the final sentence? Apr 20 '18 at 6:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.