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Greek Philosophy – Sept 24th.docx

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PHIL 232
Richard Greenfield

Greek Philosophy – Sept. 24 , 2013 Heraclitus:  Flourished around 500 BC in Turkish coast of Greece – same coast is Milesians  Independent thinker – not part of a school (Milesians, pluralists, atomists, etc.) o School refers to groups with similar thoughts and practices o There was no one else like Heraclitus  Known even in ancient times as the “obscure one” o Aphoristic style o Appeared to contradict himself o Some doctrines appear incoherent and contradictory even though that wasn‟t his intention o Bullet-point type of arguments  One relatively certain point: he reacted negatively to the Milesians o For them, the real is fixed and permanent  Change was an alteration of basic, underlying, material stuff that in its own nature is unchanging o Heraclitus inverted this order: change is what is real, and permanence is only apparent Heraclitus‟ Influence:  He was enormously influential: o Plato agreed that material world undergoes constant change  If it‟s always changing, the world cannot be truly known  Therefore the material world is unreal and the real, knowable world is immaterial  World of forms o Socrates says his work is good but it would take a Delian diver to get to the bottom of it o Heraclitus also influenced Hegel o Nietzsche references him – “no man has ever written as clearly and as lucidly” Texts and Doctrines (3 key):  “Listening not to me but to the logos it is wise to agree that all things are one” Three main Heracliten theses:  Doctrine of Monism o All things are “y” – everything is one thing  Interpretation of monism:  How do you account for diversity?  How do you account for imaginary entities and false things? o 2 interpretations of “what does it mean to say that everything is „y‟”  1. Cosmogorical:  At some time, every physical object is y  Strong interpretation  2. Non Cosmogorical:  Every physical object is y at some point  Weaker interpretation  Relation between the two:  (1) entails (2) but (2) does not entail (1)  1 – there is such a time that everything at that time is y  2 – everything at a time is y  Everything is one  Doesn‟t say when – doesn‟t have to be at same time  2
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