1. Recount the reasoning of Heraclitus that Ã??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½All things come into being through opposition, and all are in flux, like a river.Ã??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ What reasoning leads Heraclitus to this conclusion? Next, recount the reasoning of Parmenides that Ã??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½what isÃ??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ can neither come into being nor perish; in other words, that there is no change, motion, or differentiation. What reasoning leads Parmenides to this conclusion?
2. How is it that the Sophists' emphasis upon rhetoric (i.e. the art of persuasive speech) eventually developed into a teaching of extreme philosophical relativism? In your answer, be sure to include discussion of the distinction between physis and nomos, including the Sophists' emphasis upon the latter.
3. In the Apology, Socrates mounts a vigorous defense not only of himself but also of his philosophical way of life. What do you believe is Socrates' reasoning in this defense of philosophy? In other words, what grounds his claim that Ã??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, Ã??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã??Ã?¦ , even if I am to face death many timesÃ??Ã?¢Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½?
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OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
Heraclitus and Parmenides
Heraclitus claimed that all things come into being through opposition and is always in a state of flux, like a river. What does he mean? Heraclitus was a materialist; he sees nature and the cosmos as its own maker although he no doubt believed in God. But he ascribes the power of the Gods as it was fire - he said, "this cosmos, the same for all, was not made by gods or men, but always was and is and ever shall be ever-living fire, igniting in measures and extinguishing in measures." Additionally, he also proposed that, "all things occur in accordance with strife and destiny, " and that "the things that exist are brought into harmony by the clash of opposing currents." To understand Heraclitus we have to think about the period he lived in. He lived during the 6 BC in Ephesus under Persian rule. He was a witness to wars and what war brought. He observed what opposition can bring, outside of winners and victors; the bigger picture is that ideas are created, societies, civilization, a way of life. While it does matter who rules, what matters more to Heraclitus is the truth that the reality of his life was created via wars, via opposing armies and opposing ideas. When we talk to each other, when we exchange ideas, new ideas are formed. This is the truth behind discourse and communication - we create new meanings, nothing is ever permanent as even the meaning of words is always under erasure.
As for Parmenides, the founder of the Eleatic school of Philosophy, he seems to take the opposite position to Heraclitus. Heraclitus sees everything in a state of flux while Parmenides sees the world as remaining the same, always. In his poem 'On Nature', he declared, "How could what is perish? How could it have come to be? For if it came into being, it is not; nor is it if ever it is going to be. Thus coming into being is extinguished, and destruction unknown...Nor was [it] once, nor will [it] be, since [it] is, now, all together, / One, continuous; for what coming-to-be of it will you seek? / In what way, whence, did [it] grow? Neither from what-is-not shall I allow / You to say or think; for it is not to be said or thought / That [it] is not. And what need could have impelled it to grow / Later or sooner, if it began from nothing? Thus [it] must either be completely or not at all...[What exists] is now, all at once, one and continuous... Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike; nor is there any more or less of it in one place which might prevent it from holding together, but all is full of what is." This particular idea of his is called the 'Parmenidian One'. He was trying to tackle the metaphysics of change. For him what 'is' has to always be there. And what isn't there can never be. Nothing comes into or goes out of existence. If x goes out of existence into the void, then it becomes nothing. The void being nothing, then X ceases to be. But X was so it still is and it cannot go into the void because there isn't anything in nothing. As such, for him, if something is, then it will always be because nothing can be and not be at the same time (if X goes into the void, it still is X but an X that is nothing - for Parmenides this is impossible). All the attributes of X remains however we perceive it for when it began as X it ...
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