Heraclitus of Ephesus - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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The Logos and the Unity of Opposites

Like his older contemporary Xenophanes of Colophon, Heraclitus is openly critical of the poets of the ancient past, but he also includes among his targets contemporary intellectuals. He is critical of "Hesiod and Pythagoras, and also Xenophanes and Hecataeus" for their "polymathy" that does not yield "understanding" (frag. 40 D-K). He finds "much learning" an impediment to understanding, and this puts him at odds with the new intellectuals who practicehistoriê, which depends upon polymathy. "Understanding" comes from heeding what Heraclitus calls "the Logos," by which "all things come to be," and whose message the common stock of humanity fail to appreciate, as well as those reputed to be wise. They live in a private world of their own making, comparable to dreams, but those who harken to the Logos live in the one public world of the wakeful...

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This section contains 4,487 words
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Heraclitus of Ephesus from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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