This conclusion became the origin of Plato’s philosophy of Forms or the Theory of Ideas, which explores the concept that the world exists in two separate spheres: The Physical Realm and the Realm of Forms. The Physical Realm is how we perceive things, constantly changeable, imperfect. On the other hand, the Realm of Forms is perfect, its nature is immutable and unchangeable.
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Many philosophers from the pre-Socratic period made their own cosmological systems and theories, and their work was foundational for Western philosophy, paving the way for the development of what we now call the scientific method, therefore leading to the creation of science as we kno...
Τὰ πάντα ῥεῖ (ta panta rhei, everything flows) is an ancient Greek phrase that summarizes “the philosophy of flux” proposed by Heraclitus. Otherwise called “the theory of impermanence” and ill...
Whatever is is, and what is not cannot be.
The juxtaposition between the views of Heraclitus and Parmenides and its later conclusion marks a transition in the ancient Greek tradition, from the pre-Socratic period to the Platonic era, and offers a bridge between cosmology and metaphysics.
Heraclitus wrote only one work, a scroll of papyrus that has been lost, although many fragments of said work have been quoted by a plethora of other authors, proving his undeniable influence not only on contemporary thinkers (notably Plato and Aristotle), but als...
Parmenides was a pre-Socratic philosopher from the city of Elea in Magna Graecia. It is believed that he lived during the late sixth or early fifth century BC, and he is considered the father of metaphysics, having founded the very prominent Eleatic school of philosophy. He origi...
The philosophy of Parmenides is based around the concept of stasis, which means that the universe is in constant balance, that things either exist or do not exist, and they cannot change. Everything exists as part of an unchanging nature, and what we may observe as trans...
Many different answers have been proposed throughout history, and two of these answers were very prominent during the pre-Socratic period in Ancient Greece: the flux of Heraclitus and the stasis of Parmenides.
The confrontation of these t...
In order to fully understand the discussion between Heraclitus and Parmenides, it is important for us to understand the pre-Socratic period as a whole.
The pre-Socratic period, or early Greek philosophy, encompasses all the philosophers between Thales of Miletus (c. 624/623...
Heraclitus, born in the year of c.535 BC, was a native of a city called Ephesus, which was located inside the territory of the Persian Empire, and not much is known about his life. Some of the stories and registered recollections about him are now proven to be fabricated; however, it
The direct confrontation between the two opposite lines of thought happened in a dialogue recorded by Plato called Sophist.
This dialogue’s objective is to define through dialectic the difference between sophists and philosophers, being a...
After presenting both the philosophy of flux and the philosophy of stasis, Plato then claims that they are, in fact, not mutually exclusive at all. If according to Parmenides everything has an innate and immutable essence, and according to Heraclitus all things a...
It is not possible to step into the same river twice.
(No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he’s not the same man.)
The roots of philosophy, or the Greek Tradition, can be traced back to one of the most profound questions posed by mankind: what is the quintessential characteristic of all things in this world? What is the common trait that we can identify in any object, creature, element or force?
Such as Heraclitus, Parmenides only wrote one known work, often referred as On Nature, and only some fragments of this work have survived the test of time as well. The writings of Parmenides are credited for containing the first sustained argument of phi...
Whenever we see a river, taking the example from Heraclitus, it is never the same river, because the water keeps ever flowing, changing, moving. However, our perception of that river is guided by the unchangeable concept of a river. Our changeable perceptions...
“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison
To philosophy’s oldest question, Greek philosophers Heraclitus and Parmenides answered with opposing views. Or did they?
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