Notes on what I'm reading

Saturday, March 23, 2013

HoPwaG: Heraclitus II

Two ways of thinking about Heraclitus:
  • as continuing the Milesian search for a fundamental cosmological principle; 
  • changing the way one should think about the search for a fundamental cosmological principle
Expanding on the second way of thinking about Heraclitus: think of a Heraclitean aphorism (e.g. the road up and down) not as statement of doctrine, but as self-consciously paradoxical. That's supposed to show Heraclitus' concern with the effect of the statement on an interlocutor.

More elucidation of the second way of thinking about Heraclitus: the same-river aphorism as an implicit argument, viz. forcing the interlocutor to question the way he thinks about what there is, rather than a statement about what there is. (How this is supposed to go: Well, of course I can step in the same river twice; which requires support; which runs into the paradox; which requires thinking about sameness, difference, change.) Contrast that with Thales, Anaximander, etc..

Fragment 125. Two versions:
  • The posset separates if it's not stirred;
  • The posset stands still when it's moving.
The second reading makes the fragment an implicit argument in the vein of the same-river aphorism--an aphorism about identity, i.e. what it is to be a posset (viz. something's a posset only when moving/changing, à la the river.)

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