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About the Author: Heraclitus

Heraclitus of Ephesus (Greek: Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος,c.535 – c.475 BCE) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the apparently riddled and allegedly paradoxical nature of his philosophy and his stress upon the needless unconsciousness of humankind, he was called "The Obscure" and the "Weeping Philosopher".

Heraclitus was famous for his insistence on ever-present change as being the fundamental essence of the universe, as stated in the famous saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice". This position was complemented by his stark commitment to a unity of opposites in the world,stating that "the path up and down are one and the same". Through these doctrines Heraclitus characterized all existing entities by pairs of contrary properties, whereby no entity may ever occupy a single state at a single time. This, along with his cryptic utterance that "all entities come to be in accordance with this Logos" (literally, "word", "reason", or "account") has been the subject of numerous interpretations.


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The Cosmic Fragments by

Goodreads rating: 4.27

Paperback, Published in Feb 2010 by Cambridge University Press

ISBN10: 0521136679 | ISBN13: 9780521136679

Page count: 444

This work provides a text and an extended study of those fragments of Heraclitus' philosophical utterances whose subject is the world as a whole rather than man and his part in it. Professor Kirk discusses fully the fragments which he finds genuine and treats in passing others that were generally accepted as genuine but here considered paraphrased or spurious. In securing his text, Professor Kirk has taken into account all the ancient testimonies, and in his critical work he attached particular importance to the context in which each fragment is set. To each he gives a selective apparatus, a literal translation and and an extended commentary in which problems of textual and philosophical criticism are discussed. Ancient accounts of Heraclitus were inadequate and misleading, and as Kirk wrote, understanding was often hindered by excessive dogmatism and a selective use of the fragments. Professor Kirk's method is critical and objective, and his 1954 work marks a significant advance in the study of Presocratic thought.

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