Heraclitus (c. 540 – 480 BC), was from Ephesus in Asia Minor and believed nature was in constant change.

Heraclitus believed the Problem of Change could be resolved by nature being in constant flux with an underlying order or reason.

Everything Flows

A contemporary of Parmenides, Heraclitus thought that constant change, or flow, was in fact the most basic characteristic of nature.

‘Everything flows, nothing stands still,’ said Heraclitus. Everything is in constant flux and movement, nothing is abiding.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”


Heraclitus argued that the world is characterized by opposites. For example, if you were never ill, you would not know what it was to be well. If you never knew hunger, you would take no pleasure in being full. If there were never any war, you would not appreciate peace. And if there were no winter, you would never see the spring.

For Heraclitus, both good and bad have their inevitable place in the order of things, He believed opposition brings concord. Out of this discord comes harmony.

Without this constant interplay of opposites the world would cease to exist. He used the term ‘God,’ as the creator of these opposites but he was clearly not referring to the gods of Greek mythology.

Heraclitus believed that there must be a kind of ‘universal reason’ guiding everything that happens in nature. This ‘universal reason’ or ‘universal law’ is something common to all of us and something that everybody is guided by.

He called this ‘universal law’ Logos, meaning, in this context, reason in Greek.

Image from www.bbc.co.uk/

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