Heraclitus is known in antiquity as “the obscure” and is famous for playing with paradoxes in his writings. His work survives now only as a collection of short fragments, but from what we have it is clear that he was a very careful and intentional writer who deliberately used language in a precise sense. Given the evidence, it is reasonable to conjecture that his original writings—including those that are now lost to us—contained sets of sayings or aphorisms. Characteristic of these fragments is a lack of overarching order or argument. Furthermore, they offer a variety of possible interpretations and can never be pinned down with a single meaning. In this sense, the puzzling ambiguities and paradoxes of his writings suggest that they are intentionally enigmatic in order to provoke thought rather than settle it. It goes without saying he never teaches directly nor gives a clear declaration of his own views. Instead, he encourages others to reason for themselves rather than take others’ views on good authority. This requires personal engagement and participation on the part of the student, ostensibly a favored style of instruction for Heraclitus.
Parmenides is, according to James Warren, “perhaps the most celebrated of all the early Greek philosophers” (p. 77). One of the reasons for this is, no doubt, his declaration that reality is full and complete as it is and, therefore, there is no way to understand change. What is more, there is no coming to be or passing away for Parmenides. What is cannot come to be from what is not. What is is ungenerated, undying, and eternal presence. It just is.
Given Parmenides lasting effect regarding the unchanging essence of what is, philosophers henceforth speculated about the origin and composition of the cosmos under the shadow of Parmenides, especially in attempting to account for processes of change and generation within the universe. Two thinkers in particular who extended the thought of Parmenides were Zeno and Melissus – the three together often subsumed under the descriptor the Eleatic school.… Read More
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- The Philosophy of Parmenides (socyberty.com)
- The Philosophy of Zeno of Elea (socyberty.com)
- It’s All Greek to Me: Zeno’s Paradox (socyberty.com)
- Classic “Writer” Hat Truly:… (kungfugrippe.com)
- The Philosophy of Leucippus (socyberty.com)
- The Philosophy of Protagoras (socyberty.com)