Heraclitus was a great Greek philosopher who lived in the late 6th century BC. C., Heraclitus criticizes his predecessors and contemporaries and affirmed the existence of a word of eternal character, logos , a word that according to his knowledge meant that all things are one , in a certain sense. He believed that opposites are necessary for daily life, but that they are unified in a system of balanced exchanges . For him, the world itself consisted of an exchange of elements similar to the law , which was symbolized by fire., which is why the world should not be identified with any particular substance, but rather with a continuous process governed by a law of change . This law had underlying laws of nature that manifested as a moral law for human beings. Heraclitus was the first Western philosopher who managed to go beyond physical theory in search of metaphysical foundations and moral applications .

  • When he was born:  540 a. C.
  • Where he was born:  Ephesus, Turkey
  • When he died:  480 BC C.
  • Where he died:  Ephesus, Turkey

Who was Heraclitus?

Greek philosopher oriented towards the search for a common constitutive principle of plurality in the beings that inhabited nature and based his theory on the fact that opposites were necessary for life and that they were united in a system of exchange .

  • Heraclitus biography
  • Thought of Heraclitus
  • Contributions
  • Fragments
  • Arche of Heraclitus
  • Works of Heraclitus
  • Phrases

Heraclitus biography

Heraclitus lived in the city of Ephesus , an important place on the Ionian coast of Asia Minor , considered the cradle of philosophy . Apparently he came from an aristocratic family , although not much is known of his life other than what can be deduced from his own statements, since all the ancient biographies of him consist of nothing more than inferences or imaginary constructions based on his sayings. . He used the nickname ” the dark one ” due to the enigmatic nature of his style. He was against democracyof Athens and comprised of a sympathetic group with the Persian king Darío I the Great .


Thought of Heraclitus

Heraclitus believed that the vast majority of human beings lacked understanding . For him, most people walk through life without even understanding what was going on with them or with their lives. However, he also believed that the experience of words and deeds was capable of enlightening those who were receptive to its meaning. On the one hand, he praised the sensitive experience , he preferred the things he had seen, heard or experienced and on the other hand he considered that the eyes were the bad witnesses of men if they had barbarian souls. A barbarian is one who does not speak the Greek language. Therefore, he believed that although sensory experience was necessary for understanding , if the correct language was not known , there was no way to interpret the information provided by the senses. He also considered that fire had a constituent role to things and was the cause of all the changes that occurred in nature .


His contributions to philosophy and science created a precedent for Greek philosophical thought , better known as Socratic thought . Some of their contributions were:

  • He considered fire as a primordial element , as the essence and origin of everything that existed. He considered that fire was never extinguished and that it went to the beat of nature.
  • He said that all phenomena that occur in nature are in constant movement and change. Nothing is inert or lasts forever. Movement and change allow the balance of the universe .
  • He believed that the phenomena of nature and man were the result of being opposite to reality. For him, a state could not be experienced if he had not previously experienced it .
  • He founded the principle of causality by saying that everything that exists has a cause and that nothing could be the cause of itself.
  • He considered that logos was always present but that it could become incomprehensible to men.


Some of its fragments are:

  • Fragment 2 : This reason being eternally true, men are born incapable of understanding it before hearing it and after having heard it. For all happening as this reason, they resemble lack of experience , and making the experience such words and deeds which I will develop them , analyzing everything according to their nature and explaining how it really is . But what they do awake is hidden from other men, as they forget how much they do while asleep.
  • Fragment 13 : Of what there is sight , hearing , science , that I honor, above all.
  • Fragment 20 : This world, the same for all, he did neither gods nor of men , but has been eternally and is and will be a fire eternally living, going on and off as measured according measures.

Arche of Heraclitus

For Heraclitus, the arche is fire , which is a generating substance of the principle of things , of the cosmos. The universe was an eternal fire that was turned on and off by means of the logo , with which the order and harmony of the cosmos could be given, and of laws that determined unity and struggle .

Works of Heraclitus

Apparently Heraclitus could only write a book entitled “On Nature”, of which there are three subdivisions:

  • About the Universe
  • Politics
  • Theology


  • The sun is new every day.
  • You cannot step on the same river twice, because it is not the same river and he is not the same man.
  • Nothing resists except change.
  • Eyes and ears are bad witnesses for people if they have uneducated souls.
  • The abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise.
  • Everyone has the possibility of being wise, but their contemporaries live like sleepers.
  • God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, satiety and hunger.

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