Heraclitus Paper

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LET THE RIVERS FLOW AND FIRES BURN; HERACLITUS

Abbigail Fuller
Humanities Foundations 2210, Composition
November 13, 2014

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If one were to ‘google’ the term philosophy today, the first thing the researcher would be faced with would not be about philosophy at all. Instead, the curious internet searcher would first be shown a cosmetic company that creates an array of lotions, hand soaps, and products that are advertised to make a woman’s skin as touchable as an infant’s hindquarters. The irony of the situation should not go unnoticed; for how did a world that was once so full of respect and desire for knowledge, understanding, and the metaphorical interpretations of life become more interested in the oils and lotions a female would place on her skin to acquire “softness” ? There was once a time in society where the term philosophy was more than just a cosmetic brand, but a way of life that was to be revered and held on high by others. Ancient Greece was, and is today, known for many things, but majorly it’s contributions to the field of philosophy. Men in ancient
Greece seemed to have quite an understanding of the metaphorical and theoretical world, for so many famous and respected Father’s of Philosophy come from this time period.
Among these pillars among men were Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many more; but, before these men came others. Men who also had ideas about the world and what it’s poetic sense should be described as. One of these men was named Heraclitus; and he is respected among many today for his look upon the earth, it’s elements, and the poetic aspects of all life. According to Charles H. Kahn’s, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus,
“From the time of Cratlyus and Plato with their special interest in the doctrine of flux, down to the Christian Church fathers who were fascinated by a logos that they could so

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easily assimilate to the word that was “in the beginning with God”, every generation and every school construed the doctrine of Heraclitus...” 1.
Heraclitus is known for many things, but one thing he is not known for is his childhood. There are not many who have attempted to unlock this ingenious man’s past, so there is not much known about his younger years. There are stories written about his life, however researcher’s believe “most of what has been handed down consists of stories apparently invented to illustrate his character as inferred from his writings” 2 . .
Heraclitus grew up in a city off the coast of Asia-Minor that was ruled over by the
Persians. He lived very close to the city Miletus, where many of the first founders of philosophy are stated to have lived. While he did not live far from the other first thinkersThales, Anaximander, Anaximenes- there are no records to prove he met or knew any of them well enogh to be influenced so thouroughly by their works and beliefs. Diogenes
Laertius, a well known biographer of the ancient Greek Philosophers, writes about
Heraclitus and his life and teachings in Book IX of his work Lives of Eminent
Philosophers. “Heraclitus, son of Bloson or, according to some, of Heracon, was a native of Ephesus. He flourished in the 69th Olympiad. He was lofty-minded beyond all other men, and over-weening, as is clear from his book in which he says : "Much learning does not teach understanding ; else would it have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, or, again,
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Kahn, C. H., 1979, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 13.
Graham, Daniel W., "Heraclitus", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer
2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/ sum2011/entries/heraclitus/>. 2

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Xenophanes and Hecataeus."For "this one thing is wisdom, to understand thought, as that which guides all the world everywhere” 3 ”.
Heraclitus was known for his representation of humans and life through metaphors of nature and the elements; however, he is commonly considered one of the first
humanists.…