Heraclitus

Heraclitus
Heraklit.jpg
Heraclitus, depicted in engraving from 1825
Bornc. 535 BC
Diedc. 475 BC (age c. 60)
EraPre-Socratic philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolIonian
Main interests
Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, cosmology
Notable ideas
Logos, fire is the arche, unity of opposites, "everything flows", becoming

Heraclitus of Ephesus (/ˌhɛrəˈkltəs/;[1] Greek: Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος, translit. Hērákleitos ho Ephésios; c. 535 – c. 475 BC) was a pre-Socratic Ionian Greek philosopher, and a native of the city of Ephesus,[2] in modern day Turkey and then part of the Persian Empire.

Due to the riddled and paradoxical nature of his philosophy, he was called "The Obscure" even in antiquity. He wrote a single work, On Nature, but the obscurity is made worse by it remaining only in fragments. His cryptic utterances have been the subject of numerous interpretations. He's been seen variously as a process philosopher, a monist, a relativist, a dialetheist, a presentist, and so forth.

He was of distinguished parentage but eschewed his privileged life for a lonely one as a philosopher. Little else is known about his early life and education. He regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. Considered a misanthrope given to melancholy, he was also called "the weeping philosopher," in contrast to Democritus, "the laughing philosopher".

Heraclitus believed the world was somehow in accordance with Logos (literally, "word", "reason", or "account"). He also believed the world was ultimately made of fire. He was famous for his insistence on ever-present change, or flux or becoming, as the characteristic feature of the world, as stated in the famous saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice" as well as "Panta rhei," everything flows. His philosophy is contrasted with that of Parmenides, who believed in being, and that nothing changes. Both had an influence on Plato and thus on all of Western philosophy. Heraclitus' position was complemented by his commitment to a unity of opposites and harmony in the world.

Life[edit]

Floruit[edit]

Scholars have generally believed that either Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides, though opinion on who was responding to whom has varied over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries.[3] Given Parmenides seems to refer to him in response, and Heraclitus refers to the likes of Pythagoras,[4] most figure Heraclitus is the older of the two.

The main source for the life of Heraclitus is Diogenes Laërtius, although some have questioned the validity of his account as "a tissue of Hellenistic anecdotes, most of them obviously fabricated on the basis of statements in the preserved fragments".[5] Diogenes Laërtius said that Heraclitus flourished in the 69th Olympiad, 504–501 BC.[6] All the rest of the evidence—the people Heraclitus is said to have known, or the people who were familiar with his work—confirms the floruit. His dates of birth and death are based on a life span of 60 years, the age at which Diogenes Laërtius says he died,[7] with the floruit in the middle.

Ephesus[edit]

Ephesus on the coast of Asia Minor, birthplace of Heraclitus

Heraclitus was born to an aristocratic family c. 535 BC in Ephesus,[8] in the Persian Empire, in what is today called Efes, Turkey.[9][10] His father was named either Blosôn or Herakôn.[6] Diogenes Laërtius says that he abdicated the kingship (basileia) in favor of his brother[11] and Strabo confirms that there was a ruling family in Ephesus descended from the Ionian founder, Androclus, which still kept the title and could sit in the chief seat at the games, as well as a few other privileges.[12] How much power the king had is another question, for Ephesus had been part of the Persian Empire since 547 BC and was ruled by a satrap, a more distant figure, as Cyrus the Great allowed the Ionians considerable autonomy.

Childhood[edit]

Diogenes Laërtius says that Heraclitus used to play knucklebones with the youths in the great temple of Artemis, the Artemisium, one of the largest temples of the 6th century BC and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.[a] When asked to start making laws he refused saying that the constitution (politeia) was ponêra,[13] which can mean either that it was fundamentally wrong or that he considered it toilsome. Two extant letters between Heraclitus and Darius I, quoted by Diogenes Laërtius, are undoubtedly later forgeries.[14]

With regard to education, Diogenes Laërtius says that Heraclitus was "wondrous" from childhood.[b] Diogenes relates that Sotion said he was a "hearer" of Xenophanes, which contradicts Heraclitus' statement (so says Diogenes Laërtius) that he had taught himself by questioning himself. Burnet states in any case that "... Xenophanes left Ionia before Herakleitos was born."[15] Diogenes Laërtius relates that as a boy Heraclitus had said he "knew nothing" but later claimed to "know everything".[16] He "heard no one" but "questioned himself".

Misanthropy[edit]

Heraclitus (with the face and in the style of Michelangelo) sits apart from the other philosophers in Raphael's School of Athens.

Diogenes Laërtius relates that Heraclitus had a poor opinion of human affairs.[6] According to him: "Finally, he became a hater of his kind (misanthrope) and wandered the mountains [...] making his diet of grass and herbs." Timon of Phlius is said to have called him a "mob-reviler".

"Most men are bad" - Bias of Priene

He hated the Athenians and his fellow Ephesians, wishing the latter wealth in punishment for their wicked ways.[17] The Ephesians would "do well to end their lives, every grown man of them, and leave the city to beardless boys, for that they have driven out Hermodorus, the worthiest man among them, saying, 'We will have none who is worthiest among us; or if there be any such, let him go elsewhere and consort with others."[18]

Heraclitus was no advocate of equality, "One is ten thousand to me, if he be the best."[19] Yet he thinks "All men have a claim to self-ascertainment and sound thinking."[20] Heraclitus stressed the heedless unconsciousness of humankind. "The waking have one common world, but the sleeping turn aside each into a world of his own (idios kosmos)."[21] "Hearing they do not understand, like the deaf. Of them does the saying bear witness: 'present, they are absent.'[22] He compares the ignorance of the average man to dogs; "Dogs, also, bark at what they do not know."

He believed that Hesiod and Pythagoras lacked understanding though learned,[4] and that Homer and Archilochus deserved to be beaten.[23] One of the few men of note he praises is Bias of Priene, one of the Seven Sages of Greece, whose famous maxim is "most men are bad."[24]

Dropsy and death[edit]

Heraclitus' life as a philosopher was interrupted by dropsy. The physicians he consulted were unable to prescribe a cure. Diogenes Laërtius lists various stories about Heraclitus' death: In two versions, Heraclitus was cured of the dropsy and died of another disease. In one account, however, the philosopher "buried himself in a cowshed, expecting that the noxious damp humour would be drawn out of him by the warmth of the manure", while another says he treated himself with a liniment of cow manure and, after a day prone in the sun, died and was interred in the marketplace. According to Neathes of Cyzicus, after smearing himself with dung, Heraclitus was devoured by dogs.[25][26] He died after 478 BC from a hydropsy.[8]

On Nature[edit]

Heraclitus deposited his book in the Artemisium.

Heraclitus was known to have produced a single work, On Nature. Diogenes Laërtius tells us that Heraclitus deposited his book as a dedication in the Artemisium. As with the other pre-Socratics, his writings survive now only in fragments quoted by other authors. These are catalogued using the Diels–Kranz numbering system.

Diogenes Laërtius also states that Heraclitus' work was "a continuous treatise...but was divided into three discourses, one on the universe, another on politics, and a third on theology." Theophrastus says (in Diogenes) "...some parts of his work [are] half-finished, while other parts [made] a strange medley."[11]

We do know the work's opening lines, proving it was indeed a continuous work, rather than one of aphorisms and oracular expressions as we have now due to only fragments surviving. Aristotle quotes part of the opening line in the Rhetoric to outline the difficulty in punctuating Heraclitus without ambiguity.[27] Sextus Empiricus in Against the Mathematicians quotes the whole thing:

"Though this Logos is true evermore, yet men are as unable to understand it when they hear it for the first time as before they have heard it at all. For, though all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos, men seem as if they had no experience of them, when they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its kind and showing how it is what it is. But other men know not what they are doing when awake, even as they forget what they do in sleep."[28]

Heracliteans[edit]

Many subsequent philosophers in this period refer to the work. Says Kahn:[5] "Down to the time of Plutarch and Clement, if not later, the little book of Heraclitus was available in its original form to any reader who chose to seek it out." Diogenes Laërtius says:[11] "the book acquired such fame that it produced partisans of his philosophy who were called Heracliteans." Cratylus was one such follower. Antisthenes was another.

Ancient characterizations[edit]

"The Obscure"[edit]

At some time in antiquity he acquired this epithet denoting that his major sayings were difficult to understand. In the Metaphysics Aristotle mentions how some say Heraclitus denied the law of noncontradiction.[29] According to Diogenes Laërtius, Timon of Phlius called him "the Riddler" (αἰνικτής; ainiktēs), and explained that Heraclitus wrote his book "rather unclearly" (asaphesteron) so that only the "capable" should attempt it.[11] By the time of Cicero he had become "the dark" (ὁ Σκοτεινός; ho Skoteinós) because he had spoken nimis obscurē, "too obscurely", concerning nature and had done so deliberately in order to be misunderstood.[30] The customary English translation of ὁ Σκοτεινός follows the Latin, "the Obscure".

The "weeping philosopher"[edit]

Crying Heraclitus and laughing Democritus by Donato Bramante
Democriet (laughing) & Herakliet (crying) by Cornelis van Haarlem
Democritus by Johannes Moreelse
Heraclitus by Johannes Moreelse

Diogenes Laërtius ascribes the theory that Heraclitus did not complete some of his works because of melancholia to Theophrastus,[11] though apparently in Theophrastus's time this meant impulsiveness. Later he was referred to as the "weeping philosopher", as opposed to Democritus, who is known as the "laughing philosopher".[31] If Stobaeus writes correctly, Sotion in the early 1st century AD was already combining the two in the imaginative duo of weeping and laughing philosophers: "Among the wise, instead of anger, Heraclitus was overtaken by tears, Democritus by laughter."[32]

The view is also expressed by the satirist Juvenal:[33]

The first of prayers, best known at all the temples, is mostly for riches... Seeing this then do you not commend the one sage Democritus for laughing... and the master of the other school Heraclitus for his tears?

The laughing philosopher and the weeping philosopher by Johann Christoph Ludwig Lücke

The motif was also adopted by Lucian of Samosata in his "Sale of Creeds", in which the duo is sold together as a complementary product in the satirical auction of philosophers.[34]

It was still considered an indispensable motif for philosophy through the modern period. Michel de Montaigne proposed two archetypical views of human affairs based on them, selecting Democritus' for himself.[35] The weeping philosopher may have also been mentioned in William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.[36]

In western art[edit]

The weeping and laughing philosopher have been done several times in western art. Donato Bramante painted a fresco, "Democritus and Heraclitus," in Casa Panigarola in Milan in 1477.[37] Around 1630, Dutch painter Johannes Moreelse painted Heraclitus ringing his hands over a globe, sad at the state of the world, and another with Democritus laughing at one. In 1619, the Dutch Cornelis van Haarlem also painted a laughing Democritus and weeping Heraclitus. Giuseppe Torretti and later Johann Christoph Ludwig Lücke sculpted busts of the same. Luca Giordano also painted Democritus and Heraclitus, together and separately.

Philosophy[edit]

Diogenes Laërtius has a quote summing up Heraclitus's philosophy: "All things come into being by conflict of opposites, and the sum of things (τὰ ὅλα ta hola, "the whole") flows like a stream."[38] Heraclitus's philosophy of change is commonly considered a statement of the concept of becoming, as contrasted with "being", and has sometimes been seen in a dialectical relationship with Parmenides'. He typically uses the ordinary word "to become" (gignesthai or ginesthai, present tense or aorist tense of the verb, with the root sense of "being born"). Heraclitus's statement that "No man ever steps in the same river twice" can be contrasted with Parmenides's that "whatever is, is, and what is not cannot be", the latter being understood as a key contribution in the development of the philosophical concept of being. For this reason, Parmenides and Heraclitus are commonly considered to be two of the founders of ontology and pivotal in the history of Western philosophy.

Logos[edit]

Heraclitus by Hendrick ter Brugghen

The meaning of Logos is subject to interpretation: "word", "account", "principle", "plan", "formula", "measure", "proportion", "reckoning."[39] Though Heraclitus "quite deliberately plays on the various meanings of logos",[40] there is no compelling reason to suppose that he used it in a special technical sense, significantly different from the way it was used in ordinary Greek of his time.[41] Heraclitus's ideas about the Logos are expressed in three famous but obscure fragments, with the first cited above, and two others:

For this reason it is necessary to follow what is common. But although the Logos is common, most people live as if they had their own private understanding.[42]

Listening not to me but to the Logos[43]

Hepesthai to koino "follow the common"[edit]

People must "follow the common"[c] and not live having "their own judgement (phronēsis)". He seems to say the Logos is a public fact perhaps like a proposition or formula, though he would not have considered such things as abstract objects or even immaterial. The last quote can even be taken to be a statement against making arguments ad hominem. The later Stoics understood the Logos as "the account which governs everything,"[44] and Hippolytus, a Church Father in the 3rd century AD, identified it as meaning the Christian Word of God, such as in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word (logos) and the Word was God."[45]

God[edit]

He distinguishes between human laws and divine law (τοῦ θείου toū theiou lit. "of God").[46] By "God" Heraclitus does not mean the Christian version of a single God as primum movens of all things, God as Creator, but the divine as opposed to human; the immortal as opposed to the mortal, the cyclical as opposed to the transient. It is more accurate to speak of "the Divine" and not of "God". He removes the human sense of justice from his concept of God; i.e., humanity is not the image of God: "To God all things are fair and good and just, but people hold some things wrong and some right."[47] God's custom has wisdom but human custom does not.[48]

Eternity is a child[edit]

There is the frivolity of a child in both man and God; while "Eternity is a child moving counters in a game; the kingly power is a child's,"[49][34] he also stated "human opinions are children's toys."[50] and "Man is called a baby by God, even as a child [is called a baby] by a man."[51] Though he also states "We should not act and speak like 'children of our parents", interpreted by Marcus Aurelius to mean not simply accept what others believe.[52].

Mysticism[edit]

Wisdom is "to know the thought by which all things are steered through all things",[53] which must not imply that people are or can be wise. Only Zeus is wise.[54] To some degree then Heraclitus seems to be in the mystic's position of urging people to follow God's plan without much of an idea what that may be. In fact there is a note of despair: "The fairest universe (κάλλιστος κόσμος kállistos kósmos) is but a heap of rubbish (σάρμα sárma lit. "sweepings") piled up (κεχυμένον kechuménon, i.e. "poured out") at random (εἰκῇ eikê "aimlessly")."[55] Bertrand Russell presents Heraclitus as a mystic in his Mysticism and Logic.[56]

Fire[edit]

But it always was and will be: an ever-living fire.

Like the previous Milesians, Thales with water and Anaximenes with air, Heraclitus considered fire as the arche, the most fundamental element, which gave rise to the other elements, perhaps because living people are warm.[57] Norman Melchert interpreted Heraclitus as using "fire" metaphorically, in lieu of Logos, as the origin of all things.[58] Others see it as a metaphor for change, or perhaps all of these. It is also speculated this shows the influence of Persian Zoroastrianism, with its concept of Atar.

This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made. But it always was and will be: an ever-living fire, with measures of it kindling, and measures going out.[59]

All things are an interchange for fire, and fire for all things, just like goods for gold and gold for goods.[60]

The thunderbolt that steers the course of all things.[61]

God[edit]

Heraclit by Luca Giordano

In addition to seeing it as the most fundamental of the four elements, he presents fire as the divine cosmos. Fire is both a substance and a motivator of change, it is active in altering other things. Heraclitus describes it as "the judging and convicting of all things."[62] Judgment here is literally "to separate" (κρίνειν krinein). In antiquity this was interpreted to mean that eventually all things will be consumed by fire, a doctrine called ecpyrosis. Hippolytus, from whom we get the quotation, sees it as a reference to divine judgment and Hell.

Nietzsche explains the enigmatic "Eternity is a child moving counters in a game; the kingly power is a child's"[49][34] as "And as the child and the artist plays, so too plays the ever living fire, it builds up and tears down, in innocence – such is the game eternity plays with itself."

The Soul[edit]

He regarded the soul as being a mixture of fire and water, with fire being the noble part of the soul, and water the ignoble part. A soul should therefore aim toward becoming more full of fire and less full of water: a "dry" soul was best.[63] According to Heraclitus, worldly pleasures (drinking most apparently) made the soul "moist", and he considered mastering one's worldly desires to be a noble pursuit which purified the soul's fire.[64]

Unity of opposites[edit]

In a seeming response to Anaximander,[65] Heraclitus also believed in a unity of opposites. He characterized all existing entities by pairs of contrary properties, whereby no entity may ever occupy a single state at a single time.

"Mortals are immortal, immortals mortal"[edit]

This is most famously expressed with his claim "Mortals are immortals and immortals are mortals, the one living the others' death and dying the others' life".[66] This is taken to mean men are mortal gods, and gods immortal men.[34]

Dike eris, "strife is justice"[edit]

War is the father of all and the king of all.

In this union of opposites, of both generation and destruction, Heraclitus called the oppositional processes ἔρις (eris), "strife", and hypothesizes that the apparently stable state, δίκη (dikê), or "justice", is a harmony of it. Anaximander described the same as injustice.[67]

We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice, and that all things come into being through strife necessarily.[68]

War[edit]

Heraclitus is the original philosopher to argue that war is a good thing. He also wrote "Every beast is driven to pasture by blows."[69]

War is the father of all and king of all; and some he shows as gods, others as men, some he makes slaves, others free.[70]

The people must fight for its law as for its walls.[71]

Harmony[edit]

In a metaphor and one of the earliest uses of a force in the history of philosophy, Heraclitus compares the union of opposites to a strung bow or lyre held in shape by an equilibrium of the string tension:[72]

There is a harmony in the bending back (παλίντροπος palintropos) as in the case of the bow and the lyre.

The bow's name is life, though its work is death.

He claims this shows something true yet invisible about reality; "a hidden harmony is better than an apparent one."[73] He also noted "the bow's name is life, though its work is death,"[74] a play on both bow and life being the same word as written - biós; further evidence of a continuous, written work.

Hodos ano kato, "the way up and the way down"[edit]

Heraclitus also said "The way up and the way down is one and the same."[75]

Cycle[edit]

This can be interpreted in various ways. One interpretation is it illustrates the cyclical nature of reality and transformation, a replacement of one element by another, "turnings of fire".[76] This might be another "hidden harmony".

The death of fire is the birth of air, and the death of air is the birth of water.[77]

Concerning a circle the beginning and end are common.[78]

Monism[edit]

Another interpretation is that it shows his monism, though perhaps a dialectical one. Heraclitus does believe all is one. The full quote is "Listening not to me but to the Logos it is wise to agree that all things are one."[43]

Hesiod is most men's teacher. Men think he knew very many things, a man who did not know day or night! They are one.[79]

Relativism[edit]

This has also been interpreted to advocate relativism.[80]

The sea is the purest and impurest water. Fish can drink it and it is good for them, to me it is undrinkable and destructive.[81]

Good and ill are one.[82]

Flux[edit]

He recognizes the fundamental changing of objects with the flow of time. This is the full expression of the becoming aspect of his philosophy.

Panta rhei, "everything flows"[edit]

He is credited with the phrase πάντα ῥεῖ (panta rhei) "everything flows."[83] This famous aphorism used to characterize Heraclitus' thought comes from Simplicius, a neoplatonist, and from Plato's Cratylus. The word rhei (as in rheology) is the Greek word for "to stream", and is etymologically related to Rhea according to Plato's Cratylus.[84][d] Compare with the Latin adages Omnia mutantur and Tempora mutantur (8 AD) and the central Buddhist doctrine of impermanence.

The River[edit]

No man ever steps in the same river twice.

His philosophy has been summed up with another famous adage, "No man ever steps in the same river twice."[85] He uses the river image more than once:

Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.[86]

We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.[87]

The idea is referenced twice in Plato's Cratylus.[88][89] Instead of "flow" Plato uses chōrei, "to change place" (χῶρος; chōros).

"All entities move and nothing remains still"

"Everything changes and nothing remains still ... and ... you cannot step twice into the same stream"[e]

Simplicius references it thus:

"...the natural philosophers who follow Heraclitus, keeping in view the perpetual flux of generation and the fact that all corporeal things are coming to be and departing and never really are (as Timaeus said too) claim that all things are always in flux and that you could not step twice in the same river."[91]

According to Aristotle, Cratylus went a step beyond his master's doctrine and proclaimed that one cannot step into the same river once. Compare the Japanese tale Hōjōki, (1200 AD) which contains the same image of the changing river.

However, the German classicist and philosopher Karl-Martin Dietz interprets this fragment as an indication by Heraclitus, for the world as a steady constant: "You will not find anything, in which the river remains constant. [...] Just the fact, that there is a particular river bed, that there is a source and a estuary etc. is something, that stays identical. And this is [...] the concept of a river".[92]

The Sun[edit]

The Sun is new every day.

It is also expressed by the fact that, rather than thinking the same Sun will rise tomorrow as rose today, Heraclitus said the Sun is new every day.[93]

Ethos anthropoi daimon, "Man's character is [his] fate"[edit]

This influential quote by Heraclitus "ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων"[94] has led to numerous interpretations. Whether in this context "daimon" can indeed be translated to mean "fate" is disputed; however, it lends much sense to Heraclitus' observations and conclusions about human nature in general. While the translation with "fate" is generally accepted as in Kahn's "a man's character is his divinity", in some cases, it may also stand for the soul of the departed.[95]

The senses[edit]

Some have interpreted and some fragments support Heraclitus as a kind of proto-empiricist,[56] such as "the things that can be seen, heard and learned are what I prize the most,"[96] but W. K. C. Guthrie disputes this interpretation, citing for "Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men who have barbarian souls."[67][97]

The sense of smell also seemed to play a role in his philosophy. "If all things were turned to smoke, the nostrils would distinguish them."[98] and "Souls smell in Hades."

Influence[edit]

Ancient[edit]

Cratylus[edit]

Heraclitus's most famous follower was Cratylus, who was presented by Plato as a linguistic naturalist, one who believes names must apply naturally to their objects. According to Aristotle, he took the view that nothing can be said about the ever-changing world, and "ended by thinking that one need not say anything, and only moved his finger."[99] He seemed to hold the view continuous change warrants skepticism because we cannot define a thing that does not have a permanent nature.[100]

Parmenides[edit]

Parmenides may have been responding to Heraclitus.

Parmenides's proem argues that change is impossible, and may very well have been referring to Heraclitus with such passages as "Undiscerning crowds, who hold that it is and is not the same, and all things travel in opposite directions!".

Plato[edit]

Plato knew of Heraclitus through Cratylus, and thus wrote his dialogue of the same name. Plato argues against Heraclitus as follows:[101]

How can that be a real thing which is never in the same state? ... for at the moment that the observer approaches, then they become other ... so that you cannot get any further in knowing their nature or state .... but if that which knows and that which is known exist ever ... then I do not think they can resemble a process or flux ....

Plato does seem influenced by Heraclitus in his concept of the world as always changing, and thus our inability to have knowledge of particulars, and by Parmenides in needing another world, the Platonic realm, where things remain unchanging and universals exist as the objects of knowledge. He gives this in the Symposium, sounding very much like Heraclitus:[100][102]

Even during the period for which any living being is said to live and retain his identity - as a man, for example, is called the same man from boyhood to old age - he does not in fact retain the same attributes, although he is called the same person: he is always becoming a new being and undergoing a process of loss and reparation, which affects his hair, his flesh, his bones, his blood and his whole body. And not only his body, but his soul as well. No man's character, habits, opinions desires pleasures pains and fears remain always the same: new ones come into existence and old ones disappear.

Stoics[edit]

Coin from c. 230 AD depicting Heraclitus, with club and raised hand.

Stoicism was a philosophical school which flourished between the 3rd century BC and about the 3rd century AD. It began among the Greeks and became the major philosophy of the Roman Empire before declining with the rise of Christianity in the 3rd century.

While most scholars believe Heraclitus had little effect on the Stoics, scholar A. A. Long argues otherwise. According to him, throughout their long tenure the Stoics believed that the major tenets of their philosophy derived from the thought of Heraclitus,[103] "the importance of Heraclitus to later Stoics is evident most plainly in Marcus Aurelius."[104][f] Explicit connections of the earliest Stoics to Heraclitus showing how they arrived at their interpretation are missing but they can be inferred from the Stoic fragments, which Long concludes are "modifications of Heraclitus."[105]

The Stoic modification of Heraclitus' idea of the Logos was also influential on Jewish philosophers such as Philo of Alexandria, who connected it to "Wisdom personified" as God's creative principle. Philo uses the term Logos throughout his treatises on Hebrew Scripture in a manner clearly influenced by the Stoics.

Hymn to Zeus[edit]

The Stoics were interested in Heraclitus' treatment of fire. The earliest surviving Stoic work, the Hymn to Zeus of Cleanthes, a work transitional from pagan polytheism to the modern religions and philosophies, though not explicitly referencing Heraclitus, adopts what appears to be the Heraclitean logos modified.[g] Zeus rules the universe with law (nomos) wielding on its behalf the "forked servant", the "fire" of the "ever-living lightning." So far nothing has been said that differs from the Zeus of Homer. But then, says Cleanthes, Zeus uses the fire to "straighten out the common logos" that travels about (phoitan, "to frequent") mixing with the greater and lesser lights (heavenly bodies). This is Heraclitus' logos, but now it is confused with the "common nomos", which Zeus uses to "make the wrong (perissa, left or odd) right (artia, right or even)" and "order (kosmein) the disordered (akosma)."[106]

Church Fathers[edit]

The Church Fathers were the leaders of the early Christian Church during its first five centuries of existence, roughly contemporaneous to Stoicism under the Roman Empire. The works of dozens of writers in hundreds of pages have survived. All of them had something to say about the Christian form of the Logos. The Catholic Church found it necessary to distinguish between the Christian logos and that of Heraclitus, in order to distance itself from pagans and convert them to Christianity. Church use of the methods and conclusions of ancient philosophy as such was as yet far in the future, even though many were converted philosophers.

Refutation of All Heresies[edit]

Hippolytus of Rome therefore identifies Heraclitus along with the other Pre-Socratics (and Academics) as sources of heresy In Refutation of All Heresies,[107] one of the best sources on quotes from Heraclitus, Hippolytus says: "What the blasphemous folly is of Noetus, and that he devoted himself to the tenets of Heraclitus the Obscure, not to those of Christ." Hippolytus then goes on to present an inscrutable quote: "God (theos) is day and night, winter and summer, ... but he takes various shapes, just as fire, when it is mingled with spices, is named according to the savor of each."[108] The fragment seems to support pantheism if taken literally. German physicist and philosopher Max Bernard Weinstein classed his view as a predecessor of pandeism.[57]

Hippolytus condemns the obscurity of it. He cannot accuse Heraclitus of being a heretic so he says instead: "Did not (Heraclitus) the Obscure anticipate Noetus in framing a system ...?" The apparent pantheist deity of Heraclitus (if that is what the fragment means) must be equal to the union of opposites and therefore must be corporeal and incorporeal, divine and not-divine, dead and alive, etc., and the Trinity can only be reached by some sort of illusory shape-shifting.[109]

First Apology[edit]

The Christian apologist Justin Martyr, however, took a much more positive view of him. In his First Apology, he said both Socrates and Heraclitus were Christians before Christ: "those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them." [110]

Modern[edit]

German philosophy[edit]

Heraclitus from the Nuremberg Chronicle
Hegel[edit]

According to Hegel, "the origin of philosophy is to be dated from Heraclitus." He attributes dialectics to Heraclitus rather than, as Aristotle did, to Zeno of Elea. "There is no proposition of Heraclitus which I have not adopted in my Logic."[111]

Engels[edit]

Engels who associated with the Young Hegelians also gave Heraclitus the credit for inventing dialectics.

Nietzsche[edit]

Nietzsche was profoundly influenced by Heraclitus, as can be seen in his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks.

Spengler[edit]

Oswald Spengler wrote his dissertation on Heraclitus.

Heidegger[edit]

Heidegger is also influenced by Heraclitus, as seen in his Introduction to Metaphysics.

Popper[edit]

Karl Popper wrote much on Heraclitus, and both Popper and Heraclitus believe in invisible processes at work.[112]

British philosophy[edit]

McTaggart[edit]

J. M. E. McTaggart's illustration of the A-series and B-series of time has been seen as an analogous application to time of Heraclitus and Parmenides views of all of reality, respectively.

Whitehead[edit]

A. N. Whitehead's process philosophy bears a resemblance to Heraclitus.

Cratylism[edit]

20th century linguistic philosophy saw a rise in considerations brought up by Cratylus in Plato's dialogue, and thus offered the doctrine called Cratylism.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ancient temples were regularly used for storing treasures, and were open to private individuals under exceptional circumstances.
  2. ^ thaumasios, which, as Socrates explains in Plato's Theaetetus and Gorgias, is the beginning of philosophy
  3. ^ The initial part of DK B2, often omitted because broken by a note explaining that ξυνός ksunos (Ionic) is κοινός koinos (Attic).
  4. ^ In pronunciation the -ei- is a diphthong sounding like the -ei- in reindeer. The initial r is aspirated or made breathy, which indicates the dropping of the s in *sreu-.
  5. ^ This sentence has been translated by Seneca.[90]
  6. ^ Aurelius quotes Heraclitus in Meditations iv. 46
  7. ^ Different translations of this can be found at Rolleston, T.W. "Stoic Philosophers: Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus". www.numinism.net. Archived from the original on 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2007-11-28. Ellery, M.A.C. (1976). "Cleanthes' Hymn to Zeus". Tom Sienkewicz. Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2007-11-28. "Hymn to Zeus". Translated by not stated. Holy, Holy, Holy at thriceholy.net: Hypatia's Bookshelf.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Urdang, Laurence, eds. (1979). Collins English Dictionary. London, Glasgow: Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-433078-5.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Heraclitus" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 309–310.
  3. ^ John Palmer (2016). Parmenides. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
  4. ^ a b DK B40, from Laertius, Lives 9.1
  5. ^ a b Kahn, Charles (1979). The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: Fragments with Translation and Commentary. London: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–23. ISBN 978-0-521-28645-9.
  6. ^ a b c Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 1
  7. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 3
  8. ^ a b Ríos Pedraza, Francisco; Haya Segovia, Fernando (2009). Historia de la Filosofía. Oxford University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-84-673-5147-7.
  9. ^ Naddaf 2005, p. 126.
  10. ^ Wiesehöfer 2003, pp. 201–202.
  11. ^ a b c d e Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 6
  12. ^ Strabo, Chapter 1, section 3.
  13. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 2
  14. ^ G. S. Kirk (2010), Heraclitus: The Cosmic Fragments, Cambridge University Press, p. 1. ISBN 0521136679
  15. ^ Chapter 3 beginning.
  16. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 5
  17. ^ DK B125a, from John Tzetzes, Scholium on Aristophanes Wealth 88
  18. ^ DK B121, from Strabo, Geography 14.25
  19. ^ DK B49, from Theodorus Prodromus, Letters 1
  20. ^ DK B116, from Stobaeus Selections 3.5.6
  21. ^ DK B89, from Pseudo-Plutarch, On Superstition 166c
  22. ^ DK B34, from Clement, Miscellanies 5.115.3
  23. ^ DK B42, from Laertius, Lives, 9.1
  24. ^ DK B39, Laertius, Lives, 1.88
  25. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 4
  26. ^ Fairweather, Janet (1973). "Death of Heraclitus". p. 2.
  27. ^ Rhetoric 3.1407b11
  28. ^ DK B1, from Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 7.132
  29. ^ Metaphysics Book 4, section 1005b
  30. ^ De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, Chapter 2, Section 15.
  31. ^ Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (1995). Moral and Political Essays. Translated by John M. Cooper; J.F. Procopé. Cambridge University Press. p. 50 note 17. ISBN 978-0-521-34818-8.
  32. ^ III.20.53
  33. ^ Satire X. Translation from Juvenal (1903). Thirteen Satires of Juvenal. Sidney George Owen (trans.). London: Methuen & Co. p. 61.
  34. ^ a b c d Lucian, Sale of Creeds
  35. ^ de Montaigne, Michel (2004-10-26). Of Democritus and Heraclitus. The Essays. Project Gutenberg.
  36. ^ Act I Scene II Line 43.
  37. ^ Levenson, Jay, ed. (1991). Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 229. ISBN 978-0-300-05167-4.
  38. ^ Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 8
  39. ^ For the etymology see Watkins, Calvert (2000). "Appendix I: Indo-European Roots: leg-". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.
  40. ^ K.F. Johansen, "Logos" in Donald Zeyl (ed.), Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy, Greenwood Press 1997.
  41. ^ pp. 419ff., W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. 1, Cambridge University Press, 1962.
  42. ^ DK B2, from Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians 7.133
  43. ^ a b DK B50, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.9.1
  44. ^ DK B72, from Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 4.46
  45. ^ from Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies, ix. 9
  46. ^ DK B114, from Stobaeus Selections 3.1.179
  47. ^ DK B102, from Porphyry, Notes on Homer, on Iliad 4.4
  48. ^ DK B78, from Origen, Against Celsus 6.12
  49. ^ a b DK B52, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.94
  50. ^ DK B70, from Stobaeus, Selections 2.1.16
  51. ^ DK B79
  52. ^ DK B74, from Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
  53. ^ DK B41, from Laertius, Lives, 9.1
  54. ^ DK B32, from Clement, Miscellanies 5.115.1
  55. ^ DK B124, from Theophrastrus, Metaphysics 15
  56. ^ a b Mysticism and Logic p. 2
  57. ^ a b Max Bernhard Weinsten, Welt- und Lebensanschauungen, Hervorgegangen aus Religion, Philosophie und Naturerkenntnis ("World and Life Views, Emerging From Religion, Philosophy and Nature") (1910), p. 233
  58. ^ Melchert, Norman (2006). The Great Conversation (5th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530682-8.
  59. ^ DK B30, from Clement Miscellanies 5.103.3
  60. ^ DK B90, from Plutarch On the E at Delphi 338d-e
  61. ^ DK B64, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.7
  62. ^ DK B66, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies
  63. ^ DK B118, from Stobaeus Selections 3.5.8
  64. ^ Russell, Bertrand, History of Western Philosophy
  65. ^ Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, pp. 50, 60
  66. ^ DK B62, from Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.6
  67. ^ a b The Greek Philosophers p. 44
  68. ^ DK B80, from Origen, Against Celsus 6.42
  69. ^ DK B11, from Aristotle On the World 6 401a10
  70. ^ DK B53, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.9.4
  71. ^ DK B44, from Laertius, Lives, 9.2
  72. ^ DK B51, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.9.2
  73. ^ DK B54, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.9.5
  74. ^ DK B48, from Etymologium Magnum sv bios
  75. ^ DK B60, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.4
  76. ^ DK B31, from Clement Miscellanies 5.105 3,5
  77. ^ DK B76, from Maximus of Tyre, 41.4
  78. ^ DK B103, from Porphyry, Notes on Homer, on Iliad 24.200
  79. ^ DK B57, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.2
  80. ^ Nakamura, Hajime (October 15, 1992). "A Comparative History of Ideas". Motilal Banarsidass Publ. – via Google Books.
  81. ^ DK B61, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.5
  82. ^ DK B58, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.6
  83. ^ Beris, A.N. and A.J. Giacomin, "πάντα ῥεῖ: Everything Flows", Cover Article, Applied Rheology, 24(5), 52918 (2014), pp. 1–13; Errata: In line 2 of each abstract, "παντα" should be "πάντα".
  84. ^ For the etymology see Watkins, Calvert (2000). "Appendix I: Indo-European Roots: sreu". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth ed.).
  85. ^ DK B91, from Plutarch On the E at Delphi 392b
  86. ^ DK B12, from Arius Didymus, fr. 39.2, apud Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, 15.20.2
  87. ^ DK B49a, from Heraclitus Homericus, Homeric Questions 24
  88. ^ Cratylus Paragraph Crat. 401 section d line 5.
  89. ^ Cratylus Paragraph 402 section a line 8.
  90. ^ in Epistulae, VI, 58, 23.
  91. ^ Barnes (1982), p. 65, and also Peters, Francis E. (1967). Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon. NYU Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0814765524. Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, 1313.11.
  92. ^ Dietz, Karl-Martin (2004). Heraklit von Ephesus und die Entwicklung der Individualität. Stuttgart: Verlag Freies Geistesleben. p. 60. ISBN 978-3772512735.
  93. ^ DK B6, from Aristotle Meteorology 2.2 355a13
  94. ^ DK B119, from Stobaeus Selections 4.40.23
  95. ^ Thomas L. Cooksey (2010). Plato's 'Symposium': A Reader's Guide. p. 69. Continuum International Publishing Group (London & New York). ISBN 978-0-8264-4067-9
  96. ^ DK B55, from Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies 9.9.5
  97. ^ DK B107, from Sextus Empiricus Against the Mathematicians 7.126
  98. ^ DK B7, from Aristotle On the Senses and Their Objects 5 443a23
  99. ^ Metaphysics Books 4, section 1010a
  100. ^ a b Large, William. "Heraclitus". Arasite. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  101. ^ Cratylus Paragraph 440 sections c-d.
  102. ^ Symposium, 207d
  103. ^ Long, A.A. (2001). Stoic Studies. University of California Press. Chapter 2. ISBN 978-0-520-22974-7.
  104. ^ Long (2001), p. 56.
  105. ^ Long (2001), p. 51.
  106. ^ Blakeney, E.H. The Hymn of Cleanthes: Greek Text Translated into English: with Brief Introduction and Notes. New York: The MacMillan Company.
  107. ^ Book IX leading sentence.
  108. ^ DK B67, from Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.10.8
  109. ^ Hippolytus. "Refutation of All Heresies". New Advent. pp. Book IX Chapter 5. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
  110. ^ Martyr, Justin. "First Apology of Justin". Early Christian Writings.
  111. ^ Lectures on the History of Philosophy (1892), trans. E. S. Haldane, p. 279
  112. ^ Naraniecki, Alexander (January 10, 2014). "Returning to Karl Popper: A reassessment of his politics and philosophy". Rodopi – via Google Books.

Further reading[edit]

Editions and translations[edit]

  • Botten, Mick. (2012). Herakleitos – Logos Made Manifest, Upfront Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78035-064-6 All fragments, in Greek and English, with commentary and appendices
  • Davenport, Guy (translator) (1979). Herakleitos and Diogenes. Bolinas: Grey Fox Press. ISBN 978-0-912516-36-3. Complete fragments of Heraclitus in English
  • Heraclitus; Haxton (translator), Brooks; Hillman (Forward), James (2001). Fragments: The Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus. New York: Viking (The Penguin Group, Penguin Putnam, Inc.). ISBN 978-0-670-89195-5.. Parallel Greek & English
  • Kahn, Charles H. (1979). The Art and Thought of Heraclitus. An Edition of the Fragments with Translation and Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-21883-2.
  • Kirk, G.S. (1954). Heraclitus, the Cosmic Fragments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Marcovich, Miroslav (2001). Heraclitus. Greek Text with a Short Commentary. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag. ISBN 978-3-89665-171-6. First edition: Heraclitus, editio maior. Mérida, Venezuela, 1967
  • Patrick, G.T.W. (1889). Heraclitus of Ephesus: The Fragments.
  • Robinson, T.M. (1987). Heraclitus: Fragments: A Text and Translation with a Commentary. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-6913-9.
  • Sallis, John; Maly, Kenneth, eds. (1980). Heraclitean fragments. University: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 978-0-8173-0027-2.
  • Wright, M.R. (1985). The Presocratics: The main Fragments in Greek with Introduction, Commentary and Appendix Containing Text and Translation of Aristotle on the Presocratics. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 978-0-86292-079-1.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Bakalis, Nikolaos (2005). Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics: Analysis and Fragments. Trafford Publishing. pp. 26–45 under Heraclitus. ISBN 978-1-4120-4843-9.
  • Barnes, Jonathan (1982). The Presocratic Philosophers [Revised Edition]. London & New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-0-415-05079-1.
  • Burnet, John (2003). Early Greek Philosophy. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7661-2826-2. First published in 1892, this book has had dozens of editions and has been used as a textbook for decades. The first edition is downloadable from Google Books
  • Dietz, Karl-Martin (2004): Metamorphosen des Geistes. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart 2004, Band 1: Prometheus der Vordenker: Vom göttlichen zum menschlichen Wissen. Band 2: Platon und Aristoteles. Das Erwachen des europäischen Denkens. Band 3: Heraklit von Ephesus und die Entwicklung der Individualität. Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart, 2004, ISBN 3-7725-1300-X
  • Dilcher, Roman (1995). Studies in Heraclitus. Hildesheim: Olms. ISBN 978-3-487-09986-6.
  • Fairbanks, Arthur (1898). The First Philosophers of Greece. New York: Scribner.
  • Graham, D.W. (2002). "Heraclitus and Parmenides". In Caston, V.; Graham, D.W. (eds.). Presocratic Philosophy: Essays in Honour of Alexander Mourelatos. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 27–44. ISBN 978-0-7546-0502-7.
  • Graham, D.W. (2008). "Heraclitus: Flux, Order, and Knowledge". In Curd, P.; Graham, D.W. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 169–188. ISBN 978-0-19-514687-5.
  • Guthrie, W.K.C. (1962). A History of Greek Philosophy: The Earlier Presocratics and the Pythagoreans. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Heidegger, Martin; Fink, Eugen; Seibert (translator), Charles H. (1993). Heraclitus Seminar. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-1067-0.. Transcript of seminar in which two German philosophers analyze and discuss Heraclitus' texts.
  • Kirk, G.S.; Raven, J.E. (1957). The Pre-Socratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lavine, T.Z. (1984). From Socrates to Sartre: The Philosophic Quest. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. (Bantam Books). Chapter 2: Shadow and Substance, Section: Plato's Sources: The Pre–SocraticPhilosophers: Heraclitus and Parmenides. ISBN 978-0-553-25161-6.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Laërtius, Diogenes (1925). "Others: Heraclitus" . Lives of the Eminent Philosophers. 2:9. Translated by Hicks, Robert Drew (Two volume ed.). Loeb Classical Library.
  • Luchte, James (2011). Early Greek Thought: Before the Dawn. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0567353313.
  • Magnus, Magus; Fuchs, Wolfgang (introduction) (2010). Heraclitean Pride. Towson: Furniture Press Books. ISBN 978-0-9826299-2-5. Creative re-creation of Heraclitus' lost book, from the fragments
  • McKirahan, R.D. (2011). Philosophy before Socrates, An Introduction With Text and Commentary. Indianapolis: Hackett. ISBN 978-1-60384-183-2.
  • Mourelatos, Alexander, ed. (1993). The Pre-Socratics : a collection of critical essays (Rev. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02088-4.
  • Naddaf, Gerard (2005). The Greek Concept of Nature. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0791463734.
  • Pyle, C.M. (1997). 'Democritus and Heracleitus: An Excursus on the Cover of this Book,' Milan and Lombardy in the Renaissance. Essays in Cultural History. Rome, La Fenice. (Istituto di Filologia Moderna, Università di Parma: Testi e Studi, Nuova Serie: Studi 1.) (Fortuna of the Laughing and Weeping Philosophers topos)
  • Rodziewicz, A. (2011). "Heraclitus historicus politicus". Studia Antyczne I Mediewistyczne. 44: 5–35. ISSN 0039-3231.
  • Schofield, Malcolm; Nussbaum, Martha Craven, eds. (1982). Language and logos : studies in ancient Greek philosophy presented to G.E.L. Owen. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. ISBN 978-0-521-23640-9.
  • Taylor, C.C.W. (ed.), Routledge History of Philosophy: From the Beginning to Plato, Vol. I, pp. 80–117. ISBN 0-203-02721-3 Master e-book ISBN, ISBN 0-203-05752-X (Adobe eReader Format) and ISBN 0-415-06272-1 (Print Edition).
  • Tarán, L. (1999). "337–378". Elenchos. 20: 9–52.
  • Vlastos, G. (1955). "On Heraclitus". American Journal of Philology. 76 (4): 337–378. doi:10.2307/292270. JSTOR 292270.
  • Wheelwright, Philip (1959). Heraclitus. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Wiesehöfer, Josef (2003). "Heracleitus of Ephesus". HERACLEITUS OF EPHESUS – Encyclopaedia Iranica. Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. XII, Fasc. 2. pp. 201–202.

External links[edit]