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(hĕrəklī`təs), c.535–c.475 B.C., Greek philosopher of Ephesus, of noble birth. According to Heraclitus, there was no permanent reality except the reality of change; permanence was an illusion of the senses. He taught that all things carried with them their opposites, that death was potential in life, that being and not-being were part of every whole—therefore, the only possible real state was the transitional one of becoming. He believed fire to be the underlying substance of the universe and all other elements transformations of it. He identified life and reason with fire and believed that no man had a soul of his own, that each shared in a universal soul-fire.


See his Cosmic Fragments, ed. by G. S. Kirk (1954, repr. 1962); study by G. O. Griffith (1977).

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Heraclitus (c. 540–c. 480 B.C.E.) was one of the earliest Western philosophers, best known for his assertion that the world is in constant change. Historians often refer to all Greek philosophers who lived prior Socrates as the pre-Socratics, and Heraclitus is included in this group. The pre-Socratics, who as a group were active from approximately 600 to 400 B.C.E., attempted to find universal principles to explain the whole of nature.

According to their philosophy, the apparent chaos of the world conceals a permanent and intelligible order, which can be accounted for by universal causes operating within nature itself and discoverable through human reason. They openly disagreed with the content and the method of mythology, maintaining that natural processes were no longer to be at the mercy of gods with human passions and unpredictable intentions. The pre-Socratics were skeptical about dreams, and they usually took a more speculative view of them.

Heraclitus, for instance, detached the phenomenon of dreaming from the supernatural, declaring it to be a universal human trait and maintaining that each individual retreats into a world of his own during sleep. According to Heraclitus, dreams have no special meaning and can be regarded as the carryover into sleep of the cares and intentions of waking life.

Heraclitus maintained that knowledge achieved during sleep is inferior to waking knowledge, since the world that the dreamer sees is distinguished by an incommunicable privacy and by a surrealistic character. The dreamer is cut off from communication via the senses with the outside world and does not have the power to perceive things in a coherent manner. Thus, the dream world is very different from the waking world, although they resemble each other.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


the weeping philosopher; melancholic personality. [Gk. Phil.: Hall, 98]
See: Crying


(535–475 B.C.) “Weeping Philosopher”; grieved over man’s folly. [Gk. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1146]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


?535--?475 bc, Greek philosopher, who held that fire is the primordial substance of the universe and that all things are in perpetual flux
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In a fragment collected by Clement, Heraclitus writes, "If it were not in Dionysus' honour that they make a procession and sing a hymn to the shameful parts, their deed would be a most shameful one.
Heraclitus identified life with fire, believing that individuals have no soul of their own, but that everyone shares a universal soul-fire.
I would like to be like that." It was Heraclitus who believed that the universe is in a constant state of change and that "the beginning and end are the same," but like the words of all great philosophers, they are little more than abstract musings.
Even more important to the way in which Parmenides's philosophy is constructed was Heraclitus's attempt to resolve the problem: Heraclitus taught that the world is both the many and the One and that the unity of all things as the One consists in the movement of the many in their separation out of the One and their resolution into it.
This, for instance, is his one-page summary of all Western philosophy: "In the game of Being and Nothingness, one can state that the Being of Heraclitus is eaten away by Nothingness like a piece of fruit by a host of worms." Speaking of Gaston Bachelard, this book's dedicatee, Tournier has written that "one approaches the absolute by means of laughter." One imagines the two of them tipping hats as they pass one another in the street, this Absolute and this Tournier, both of them laughing.
The placing of the Logos concept first suggests Hippolytus' agenda to connect Callistus thought with Heraclitus. C.
However change is difficult to deny as we learn from Bob Dylan, Heraclitus of Ephesus, Hegel, Marx and others.
Heraclitus believes that sometimes things seem to stay the same: we may not feel the change, but change is occurring nonetheless.
Author: Andrew Hui Aphorisms -- or philosophical short sayings -- appear everywhere, from Confucius to Twitter, the Buddha to the Bible, Heraclitus to Nietzsche.
En el capitulo 2, "The Flow of Heraclitus", como tambien en el 3, "The Idea of Homer", y en el 4, "Virgil's Touch", se discuten los modos en los que el Borges lector y escritor dialoga con figuras literarias y filosoficas especificas.
No man, said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, steps in the same river twice.
Among the topics are going with the flow: soul and truth in Heraclitus, the human as (w)hole: Aristophanes' contest with Socrates in Clouds, the origins of political life in Plato's Republic and Laws, Aristotle on Physics: analyzing the inner ambiguities and transgression of nature, hontina tropen gignetai philos: genesis versus alteration in the forming of friendships, and searching for the "why:" Plotinus on being and the One beyond being.