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55 years

   
Greek philosopher, born at Ephesus of distinguished parentage. Of his early life and education we know nothing; from the contempt with which he spoke of all his fellow philosophers and of his fellow citizens as a whole we may gather that he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. So intensely aristocratic was his temperament that he declined to exercise the regal-hieratic office which was hereditary in his family, and presented it to his brother. It is probable, however, that he did occasionally intervene in the affairs of the city at the period when the rule of Persia had given place to autonomy; it is said that he compelled the usurper Melancomas to abdicate. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the extreme profundity of his philosophy and his contempt for mankind in general, he was called the "Dark Philosopher", or the "Weeping Philosopher", in contrast to Democritus, the "Laughing Philosopher."

Heraclitus is in a real sense the founder of metaphysics. Starting from the physical standpoint of the Ionian physicists, he accepted their general idea of the unity of nature, but entirely denied their theory of being. The fundamental uniform fact in nature is constant change; everything both is and is not at the same time. He thus arrives at the principle of Relativity; harmony and unity consist in diversity and multiplicity. The senses are bad witnesses; only the wise man can obtain knowledge.

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Greek philosopher, born at Ephesus of distinguished parentage. Of his early life and education we know nothing; from the contempt with which he spoke of all his fellow philosophers and of his fellow citizens as a whole we may gather that he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. So intensely aristocratic was his temperament that he declined to exercise the regal-hieratic office which was hereditary in his family, and presented it to his brother. It is probable, however, that he did occasionally intervene in the affairs of the city at the period when the rule of Persia had given place to autonomy; it is said that he compelled the usurper Melancomas to abdicate. From the lonely life he led, and still more from the extreme profundity of his philosophy and his contempt for mankind in general, he was called the "Dark Philosopher", or the "Weeping Philosopher", in contrast to Democritus, the "Laughing Philosopher."

Heraclitus is in a real sense the founder of metaphysics. Starting from the physical standpoint of the Ionian physicists, he accepted their general idea of the unity of nature, but entirely denied their theory of being. The fundamental uniform fact in nature is constant change; everything both is and is not at the same time. He thus arrives at the principle of Relativity; harmony and unity consist in diversity and multiplicity. The senses are bad witnesses; only the wise man can obtain knowledge. More

 
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