n Akroterion - Heraclitus' discursive authority

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0303-1896
  • E-ISSN: 2079-2883
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Heraclitus, who lived and flourished in Ephesus sometime in the late sixth century, stands quite alone amidst the Presocratics. His thought is expressed in fragments that represent early and beautiful prose artistry, their aphoristic quality matched very rarely. That, combined with a willingness to flout logical doctrine and a seeming ability to adapt to many schools whilst never being fully absorbed by them, has made him a solitary yet immense figure in philosophy. Ultimately, he provided the model for Nietzsche's <I>Zarathustra</I>. <br>His enigmatic thought has led to many interpretations, which in turn have led to their own important developments in Western philosophy. On the other hand, his often radical statements have with equal frequency led to his simple dismissal as an eccentric. That dismissal is frequently involved in questions of philosophy's discursive features, a question that is controversial even to frame. Hence much could be gained from an examination of the discursive features of Heraclitus, and in particular one deceptively simple question: why did his contemporaries take him seriously? To answer this, we must first examine what else they took seriously.

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