Ancient Greeks Philosophy Change/Motion

Topics: Universe, Aristotle, Metaphysics Pages: 3 (1024 words) Published: July 15, 2012
Heraclitus, like many of the beginning philosophers was a monist. His interpretation of the one reality was fire; however, this is not to be taken literally. Heraclitus believed that the “one” could not be any material thing, but could be found in the orderliness of change and he explained fire as “always changing yet somehow is always the same.” By having orderliness, there is possibility for the human mind to understand the cosmos instead of it being chaotic and based on the gods’ wills. He believed everything changes all the time and this is occurring through a state of flux where change is constant. Heraclitus claimed that because the rate of change is constant, there is an appearance of permanence. For example, “one cannot step into the same river twice.” (Jones, pg.16) Although it would appear you are stepping into the same river, the river is in a constant state of change and the water is constantly flowing. Heraclitus did not only apply this state of change to the cosmos alone, he also applied it to society. At rest there is the appearance of equal opposite forces. If there was internal peace, it would mean neither the commoners nor the wealthy were able to seize enough power and so this in turn is the state of rest society is at due to equal opposing forces. Without this balance of equals, there is war due to unstable equilibrium and then when an equality of forces is again reached, there is peace. As most philosophers love to argue, there must be someone who would argue with Heraclitus’ theory of a changing reality. Those people who believed in an unchanging reality were Parmenides and his main disciple, Zeno. Being a monist, Parmenides claimed that the very notion of change is self-contradictory and the senses deceive us and, hence, our perception of the world does not reflect the world as it really is. Instead, the real world can only be apprehended through logic. Two premises were added onto the premise of monism and those were that “what is, is”...
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