Pre Socratic-Philosopher Heraclitus Philosophy YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Heraclitus: Pre Socratic-Philosopher- Upwards-Downwards Theory; Harmony in Opposites | Philosophy

Title: Pre Socratic-Philosopher Heraclitus


  • Heraclitus was a pre-Socratic philosopher.
  • He was a religious thinker and believed in God.
  • “The road up and the road down are the same thing,” and “one cannot step into the same river twice,” etc.
  • Some of his areas of interests are cosmology, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, etc.
  • He was influenced by the philosophy of Milesians, Pythagoras, Homer, etc.
  • He influenced a list of philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Hegel, etc.
  • Heraclitus was a contemporary of Parmenides. But both the philosophers held opposite views.
  • Heraclitus՚ philosophy presents the anti-thesis of Eleaticism.
  • For him, reality is change, flux, and always Becoming.
  • “No one can step into the same river twice, for when a man enters into a river, he meets one stream of water and the next moment, when he enters again, he meets a newer stream of water.”
  • Becoming, impermanence or change is the only reality.
Pre Socratic Philosopher Heraclitus

His arche

  • According to him, the concept of arche or logo is best symbolised by Fire.
  • Fire is ever-changing entity which constitutes life or reality. There is fire in a man too, the one with more fire is considered to be more intellectual in nature and the one with less fire is regarded to be sick or ill.
    • Fire - Heraclitus՚ Philosophy
    • Fire - Sankhya Philosophy (Sattva-Rajas-Tamas)

Upwards-Downwards Theory

  • Downward Way; Through condensation, fire changes into water and stones or earth.
  • Upwards Way; Through rarefaction, water and stones or earth give way to fire.
  • This order produces the illusion of permanence but it is not permanence.
  • On the other hand, the reality is change!

Harmony in Opposites

  • All things are composed of opposites.
  • This is also known as his famous theory of, “harmony of opposites.”
  • According to him, every existent thing deals with a harmony of opposites, such as hot-cold, day-night, dry-wet, condensation-rarefaction, etc.
  • Therefore, the unity or the harmony of the opposites is the father of all things.
  • “Cold things grow hot, a hot thing cold, a moist thing withers, a parched thing is wetted,”


According to Heraclitus, ________ is the arche or logo

A. Fire

B. Change

C. Opposites

D. All of the above

Answer: A

Explanation: according to Heraclitus, the fire is the arch or logo. The theory of opposites is propounded by Pythagoras.

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