Unformatted text preview: Puzzles about Identity and Persistence The puzzling doctrine for which Heraclitus is best known is reported by Plato ( Cratylus 402A): Heraclitus, you know, says that everything moves on and that nothing is at rest; and, comparing existing things to the flow of a river, he says that you could not step into the same river twice . Plutarch, no doubt following Plato, also ascribes this idea to Heraclitus ( 62 =B91). The idea is this: since the composition of the river changes from one moment to the next, it is not the same (numerically the same) river for any length of time at all. Note that Plato thinks that Heraclitus uses the river as an example of what he takes to be a general condition: everything is like a river in this respect. That is, nothing retains its identity for any time at all. That is: there are no persisting objects . Indeed, according to Aristotle, there was a follower of Heraclitus who carried it even further ( Metaph. 1010a7-15): Seeing that the whole of nature is in motion, and that nothing is true of what is changing, they...
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.
- Fall '09