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Heraclitus

Monday 14 November 2005

Heraclitus of Ephesus (in Ionia; contemporary with Xenophanes) saw change as the unity of all things; he took movement or the contrary tension of things (such as a taut bow, which is potential movement because of the opposing forces at work) as forms of the mutual resolution of opposites.

The unity underlying all change and opposition, but not existing outside of change and opposition, Heraclitus alternatively called the Logos or God.

With Parmenides, Heraclitus is perhaps the most important philosopher before Plato, for the idea that nothing transcends change threw a monkey wrench in Greek speculation about physics and metaphysics and has formed the foundation of Western thinking ever since.