Philosophy and Heraclitus

Topics: Plato, Philosophy, Parmenides Pages: 2 (681 words) Published: September 14, 2008
Ancient Greek philosopher: Heraclitus
Heraclitus was born in Ephesus. He belonged to an aristocratic family but refused to have a political life. His writing style is unusual, in that many of the surviving fragments are written in short and often cryptic phrases. He was known as the "weeping philosopher". He was also referred to as "the riddler" or "the obscure one", due to the puzzling nature of his writings, as well as "the mocker" or "the reviler of the mob", due to his dislike for those who were not open-minded. Heraclitus has a huge contempt for humanity and politics. Therefore, towards the end of his life he left the city and went to live in isolation in the mountains in which he fed on plants and herbs. This caused him to contract dropsy which forced him to return to the city for treatment. He asked the doctors in a riddling way if they could "change a rainstorm into a draught". When they failed to understand him, he buried himself in a byre, thinking that the dropsy would be vaporized by the heat of the dung. His attempt was not successful and he died at the age of sixty Heraclitus did not belong to a school of thought. He had independent thinking and actually criticized many philosophers. He developed many important philosophical ideas that are still admired today. Among his most important ideas are "flux" and "Unity of opposites". Heraclitus is called a monist (because he believes fire is the underlying principle) and an elitist (he believes most people are stupid). Heraclitus is said to have influenced Parmenides, Empedocles, Democritus, Plato, and the Stoics.

Heraclitus said: "You cannot step into the same river twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you." This statement is the essence of the concept of "flux" as it means that the river is always different every time you step into it. He looked at everything being in the state of change and that only change is permanent. "He told

people that nothing is the same now as it was before,...

References: 1. website name and author are unknown,

2. Thomas Knierim, "Heraclitus",,
3. N.S. Gill,,
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