In this article, I will offer an examination of a core element in the reflectiveness of Heraclitus’ thought, namely, his rebuke of polymathy , including a discussion of the issue of the apparent tension between fragments B40 1 and B35 that has been noted in the literature
explicit. I would like to illustrate this feature of the metaphor with a philosophical example.
Perhaps one of the best examples of making a metaphor explicit is Plato’s explanation from his dialogue Cratylus , in which he interprets Heraclitus’ famous river metaphor. This Heraclitean fragment, as with
criticism of his predecessors in the Metaphysics and in the Physics , but recourse to philosophers of the past can also be noted before and after Aristotle. In the case of Plato, it is perhaps even easier to see how he employs other philosophers (e.g. Heraclitus and Parmenides) in his own investigation
continuity – of one set of activities flowing seamlessly into another. Personal identity is akin to the uniformity of a river. And Heraclitus was wrong: You can step into the same river repeatedly, not because the material substance remains the same in your locale, but because the processual modalities of
, holds us together and controls us, so do breath and air surround the whole cosmos« (frag. 17). For Xenophanes, »God is one«; he »remains in the same place, moving not at all.« Yet this God somehow controls all: »Without effort he shakes all things by the thought of his mind«. 4 Heraclitus’ God is Logos