Heraclitus vs. Parmenides
As we all know, there have been many different philosophy around the world but the most popular philosophy that has created the most impact on the United States would have to be the ancient Greeks. There were over 100 thoughtful philosophers who would work together to develop their philosophies and contributed to its accomplishment. Every once in a while, however, they would disagree such as Heraclitus and Parmenides. Although Heraclitus and Parmenides were similar in many regards and both agreed that the universe can be reduced to one thing, they still had a disagreement on what exactly that one thing was.
Heraclitus was born in about 540-480 B.C (John ...view middle of the document...
Without understanding the logos, people fail to make sense of everything even of their own experience. These men are no different than little children wandering in the dark, clueless to nature of reality. However, Heraclitus seems to view the logos as part of the world in the same sense as one of the four elements: fire.
Heraclitus was known for his philosophy of universal flux and fire. In his theory, he uses fire as a metaphor for the logos. For example,
“All things are an exchange for fire, and fire for all things, as goods for gold and gold for goods, or ‘ever-living fire, kindling in measures and going out in measures” (Heraclitus of Ephesus).
Fire, for Heraclitus, is the physical incarnation of the universe with constantly shifting element. He believes the world is much like fire, is constantly changing, eternal transformation. With this belief, he concluded that everything is flux. In the river example, the philosopher stated that:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” (Classical Wisdom Weekly).
No one can step into the river twice without changing the condition. By the speed of change, it scatters. The motion is changing, so the river will be different. Therefore, everything is flux and all things are one.
Heraclitus’s claim that all things are one, pointing to ways things are the same, but not the same over time. Opposites are necessary for life, but they are form a unity through their connection to the logos. In one of his paradoxes, he points out that the “Sea water is very pure and very foul” (John Chaffee-p.234) to show the co-existence of the opposites. The water can be very clear and dirty at the same time. The next several paradoxes seem to point out a stronger relation of how all things is one; things cannot exist, and cannot even be thought of, without one another. Heraclitus even points out that “The road up and down are one and the same” (John Chaffee-p.234); “The path of writing is both straight and crooked” (John Chaffee-p.234) to show that they both the same road and the same path.
Because of this relation of identity between opposites, Heraclitus claims that all things are one. He believes that everything is ever-changing; flux and fire are maintained by unity because everything is a part of the divine law of the logos. As a matter of fact, he believes the unity of all things through the logos. However, his theory is denied by Parmenides. His concept of existence of the universe is sharply contrasted to Heraclitus’s.
Parmenides argues that the world changing is impossible. It must be in some sense illusory. He stated that:
“Reality must necessarily be eternal and unchanging....