He published works on Leibnitz, empiricism and scepticism in Hume's philosophy, modern pessimism, Kantic criticism, English philosophy, Heraclitus of Ephesus and many other subjects.
The first Greek writer, so far as we know, who does so is Heraclitus (c. 500 B.C.).
Heraclitus again deserves a prominent place in a history of the idea of evolution.
HERACLITUS (`HpaKActTos; c. 540-475 B.C.), Greek philo sopher, was born at Ephesus of distinguished parentage.
Heraclitus is in a real sense the founder of metaphysics.
To appreciate the significance of the doctrines of Heraclitus, it must be borne in mind that to Greek philosophy the sharp distinction between subject and object which pervades modern thought was foreign, a consideration which suggests the conclusion that, while it is a great mistake to reckon Heraclitus with the materialistic cosmologists of the Ionic schools, it is, on the other hand, going too far to treat his theory, with Hegel and Lassalle, as one of pure Panlogism.
Accordingly, when he denies the reality of Being, and declares Becoming, or eternal flux and change, to be the sole actuality, Heraclitus must be understood to enunciate not only the unreality of the abstract notion of being, except as the correlative of that of not-being, but also the physical doctrine that all phenomena are in a state of continuous transition from non-existence to existence, and vice versa, without either distinguishing these propositions or qualifying them by any reference to the relation of thought to experience.
For Heraclitus the soul approaches most nearly to perfection when it is most akin to the fiery vapour out of which it was originally created, and as this is most so in death, "while we live our souls are dead in us, but when we die our souls are restored to life."
The school of disciples founded by Heraclitus flourished for long after his death, the chief exponent of his teaching being Cratylus.
The only authentic extant work of Heraclitus is the 7repi 4Gvews.
Having completed his university studies in 1845, he began to write a work on Heraclitus from the Hegelian point of view; but it was soon interrupted by more stirring interests, and did not see the light for many years.
Till 1859 Lassalle resided mostly in the Rhine country, prosecuting the suit of the countess, finishing the work on Heraclitus, which was not published till 1858, taking little part in political agitation, but ever a helpful friend of the working men.
Foremost among these were the writings of Epicurus; but he had also an intimate knowledge of the philosophical poem of Empedocles, and at least an acquaintance with the works of Democritus, Anaxagoras, Heraclitus, Plato and the Stoical writers.
He owed something to Lucretius, something to the Stoic nature-pantheism, something to Anaxagoras, to Heraclitus, to the Pythagoreans, and to the Neoplatonists, who were partially known to him; above all, he was a profound student of Nicolas of Cusa, who was indeed a speculative Copernicus.
Moreover, the arguments by which Heraclitus supported this theory of the universal flux are employed by Protagoras to undermine the possibility of objective truth, by dissolving all knowledge into the momentary sensation or persuasion of the individual.
He means that the logical analysis of demonstration in the Analytics would teach them beforehand that there cannot be demonstration, though there must be induction, of an axiom, or any other principle; whereas, if they are not logically prepared for metaphysics, they will expect a demonstration of the axiom, as Heraclitus, the Heraclitean Cratylus and the Sophist Protagoras actually did, - and in vain.
A similar metaphysic from a different starting-point is found in Heraclitus, who postulates behind the perpetually changing universe of phenomena a One which remains.
Lastly, Heraclitus asserted the claims of fire, which he conceived to modify itself, not occasionally, but perpetually.
C. i is on the earliest dwellings of man; C. 2 on systems of Thales, Heraclitus, Democritus, &c.; c. 3 on bricks; c. 4 on sand; c. 5 on lime; c. 6 on pozzolana; c. 7 on kinds of stone for building; c. 8 on methods of constructing walls in stone, brick, concrete and marble, and on the materials for stucco; c. 9 on timber, time for felling it, seasoning, &c.; and c. to on the fir trees of the Apennines.
The same authority says he was a pupil of Parmenides and of Heraclitus, but the statement is improbable, owing to discrepancy in dates.
But, when Heraclitus to the assumption of fire as the single material cause added the doctrine that all things are in perpetual flux, he found himself obliged to admit that things cannot be known.
It is an advance on this when Heraclitus 2 opposes to the eyes and ears which are bad witnesses " for such as understand not their language " a common something which we would do well to follow; or again when in the incommensurability of the diagonal and side of a square the Pythagoreans stumbled upon what was clearly neither thing nor image of sense, but yet was endowed with meaning, and henceforth were increasingly at home with symbol and formula.
The earliest thinkers down to Heraclitus endeavoured to find a material substance of which all things consist; Heraclitus, by his principle of universal flux, took a new line and explained everything in terms of force, movement, dynamic energy.
From this last, the transition to the doctrine of Heraclitus is easy.
By this recognition of the necessary correlation of Being and Not-being, Heraclitus is in a very real sense the father of metaphysical and scientific speculation, and in him the Ionian school of philosophy reached, its highest point.
Yet there is reason to doubt the view of Hegel and Lassalle that Heraclitus recognized the fundamental distinction of subject and object and the relations of mind and matter.
About the time of Heraclitus, however, there sprang up a totally new philosophical spirit.
And in the same generation Heraclitus, probably a descendant of Codrus, quitted his hereditary magistracy in order to devote himself to philosophy, in which his name became almost as great as that of any Greek.
Zeno commenced, then, as a Cynic; and in the developed system we can point to a kernel of Cynic doctrine to which various philosophemes of other thinkers (more especially Heraclitus and Aristotle, but also Diogenes of Apollonia, the Pythagoreans, and the medical school of Hippocrates in a lesser degree) were added.
Heraclitus had indeed declared all to be in flux, but we ask in vain what is the cause for the unceasing process of his ever-living fire.
This peculiar thing, called Mind (vous), was no less illimitable than the chaotic mass, but, unlike the Intelligence of Heraclitus, it stood pure and independent (povvos E4' Ecwvrov), a thing of finer texture, alike in all its manifestations and everywhere the same.
Heraclitus, too, disposed of the myth of the bondage of Hera as allegorical philosophy.
The ethical element in the " dark " philosophizing of Heraclitus (c. 530-470 B.C.), though it anticipates Stoicism in its conceptions of a law of the universe, to which the wise man will carefully conform, and a divine harmony, in the recognition of which he will find his truest satisfaction, is more profound, but even less systematic.
This pantheistic doctrine harmonized thoroughly with the Stoic view of human good; but being unable to conceive substance idealistically, they (with considerable aid from the system of Heraclitus) supplied a materialistic side to their pantheism, - conceiving divine thought as an attribute of the purest and most primary of material substances, a subtle fiery aether.
According to Diogenes Laertius he was " in his prime " 504-500 B.C., and would thus seem to have been born about 539 Plato indeed (Parmenides, 127 B) makes Socrates see and hear Parmenides when the latter was about sixty-five years of age, in which case he cannot have been born before 519; but in the absence of evidence that any such meeting took place this may be regarded as one of Plato's anachronisms. However this may be, Parmenides was a contemporary, probably a younger contemporary, of Heraclitus, with whom the first succession of physicists ended, while Empedocles and Anaxagoras, with whom the second succession of physicists began, were very much his juniors.
114 seq., to Heraclitus, the philosopher of ].
These are marked off by the names of Heraclitus of Ephesus, the Stoics and Philo.
It acquires its first importance in the theories of Heraclitus (6th century B.C.), who, trying to account for the aesthetic order of the visible universe, broke away to some extent from the purely physical conceptions of his predecessors and discerned at work in the cosmic process a Aoyos analogous to the reasoning power in man.
Heraclitus holds that nothing material can be thought of without this Logos, but he does not conceive the Logos itself to be immaterial.
Like a law of nature, objective in the world, it gives order and regularity to the movement of things, and makes the system rational.3 The failure of Heraclitus to free himself entirely from the physical hypotheses of earlier times prevented his speculation from influencing his successors.
With Anaxagoras a conception entered which gradually triumphed over that of Heraclitus, namely, the conception of a supreme, intellectual principle, not identified with the world but independent of it.