Heraclitus (hĕrəklī´təs), c.535–c.475 BC, Greek philosopher of Ephesus, of noble birth. According to Heraclitus, there was no permanent reality except the reality of change; permanence was an illusion of the senses. He taught that all things carried with them their opposites, that death was potential in life, that being and not-being were part of every whole—therefore, the only possible real state was the transitional one of becoming. He believed fire to be the underlying substance of the universe and all other elements transformations of it. He identified life and reason with fire and believed that no man had a soul of his own, that each shared in a universal soul-fire.

See his Cosmic Fragments, ed. by G. S. Kirk (1954, repr. 1962); study by G. O. Griffith (1977).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Heraclitus: Selected full-text books and articles

Greek Philosophy before Plato By Robert Scoon Princeton University Press, 1928
Librarian's tip: Chap. IV "Heraclitus"
A History of Philosophy By Seymour G. Martin; Gordon H. Clark; Francis P. Clarke; Chester T. Ruddick Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1941
Librarian's tip: "Heraclitus of Ephesus" begins on p. 31
The Worlds of the Early Greek Philosophers By J. B. Wilbur; H. J. Allen Prometheus Books, 1979
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Heraclitus"
The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists By Robin Waterfield Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: "Heraclitus of Ephesus" begins on p. 32
The Theology of the Early Greek Philosophers By Werner Jaeger Clarendon Press, 1947
Librarian's tip: Chap. VII "Heraclitus"
FREE! The Religious Teachers of Greece: Being Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Aberdeen By James Adam; Adela Marion Adam T & T Clark, 1909
Librarian's tip: "Lectures X and XI Heraclitus" begins on p. 212
FREE! The Vitality of Platonism: And Other Essays By James Adam; Adela Marion Adam University Press, 1911
Librarian's tip: Chap. III "The Doctrine of the Logos in Heraclitus"
Presocratic Reflexivity: The Construction of Philosophical Discourse c. 600-450 BC By Barry Sandywell Routledge, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Heraclitus, Logologist: The Reflexive Cosmos of Heraclitus"
Martin Heidegger and the Pre-Socratics: An Introduction to His Thought By George Joseph Seidel University of Nebraska Press, 1964
Librarian's tip: Chap. V "Heraclitus: The Logos"
The Presocratic Philosophers By Jonathan Barnes Routledge, 1989
Librarian's tip: "The Natural Philosophy of Heraclitus" begins on p. 57
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy By C. C. W. Taylor Clarendon Press, vol.15, 1997
Librarian's tip: "'Heraclitus' Criticism of Ionian Philosophy" begins on p. 1
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