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Unformatted text preview: Heraclitus I ntroduction 1. Fl. 500 B.C. in Ephesus, north of Miletus in Asia Minor. He was known in antiquity as the obscure. And even today, it is very difficult to be certain what Heraclitus was talking about. As Barnes says ( Presocratics , p. 57): Heraclitus attracts exegetes as an empty jampot wasps; and each new wasp discerns traces of his own favourite flavour. The reason for this is Heraclituss dark and aphoristic style. He loved to appear to contradict himself. Some of his doctrines sound incoherent and self-contradictory even if he did not perhaps intend them that way. 2. One thing seems certain: Heraclitus had an extremely negative reaction to Milesian thought. For the Milesians, what is real is fixed and permanent; change somehow had to be explained away. They understood changes as alterations of some basic, underlying, material stuff which is, in its own nature, unchanging. Heraclitus reversed this: change is what is real. Permanence is only apparent....
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- Summer '09