School of pre-Socratic philosophy that flourished in the 5th century BC. It took its name from the Greek colony of Elea (Velia) in southern Italy. It is distinguished by its radical monism—i.e., its doctrine of the One, according to which all that exists is a static plenum of Being as such, and nothing exists that stands either in contrast or in contradiction to Being. Thus, all differentiation, motion, and change must be illusory. Its literary sources consist of fragments (most less than 10 lines long) preserved by later Classical authors: 19 from Parmenides, 4 from his pupil Zeno of Elea, and 10 from another pupil, Melissus (fl. 5th century BC). See also pre-Socratics.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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