(Ephesus, today disappeared, today Turkey, h. 540 BC.-Ephesus, ID., h. 470 BC) Greek philosopher. Very little is known of the biography of Heraclitus of Ephesus, dubbed the dark by the enigmatic character that often took his style, as witnessed a number of preserved fragments of his teachings.
The teachings of Heraclitus, according to Diógenes Laércio, were collected in a work titled nature, dealing with the universe, politics and theology - although probably this subdivision an Alexandrian compilation of texts of Heraclitus, introduced but what has reached us of his doctrine is in fragmentary form and their sources are quotes, references and reviews of other authors.
Some of these fragments have, however, the appearance of complete aphorisms, which supports the idea that his style of thinking was oracular. This has given rise, even to formulate the hypothesis that Heraclitus did not write, in fact, no text, but their teachings were exclusively oral, and who were his disciples policymakers gather the gist of them in the form of sentences.
Be that as it may, the obscurity of Heraclitus has been caricatured in the legend about his death: ill of dropsy, enigmatically asked doctors if they could rain to drought; as they might not perceive it, was buried in dung on the assumption that the heat of this would absorb the humidity, with the result that accelerated the fatal outcome. Diógenes Laércio believed, the cause of the condition would have been his retreat at the mount, where fed on grasses, moved by their Misanthropy.
Heraclitus of contempt for the ordinary mortals would be consistent with its origins, it seems certain that it came from an old aristocratic family, as well as his political ideas were contrary to democracy of Athenian Court and it was, perhaps, part of the small group, composed of nobles, who sympathized with the Persian King Darius, whose dominions included Ephesus by then , against the will of the majority of its citizens. To the latter, in any case, it must not have appreciate it too much, and Heraclitus was filled of expletives when she was driven out of the city to his Hermodoro friend.
According to what emerges from the various fragments, Heraclitus said almost all of the natural phenomena, attributing to fire the role of constituent common to all things and cause of all the changes that occur in nature. The importance conceded to the assertion that everything is exposed to incessant change and flow, was probably exaggerated by Plato, who contributed in a decisive way to perpetuate the image of ephesian philosopher as the exponent of a radical relativism.
The universe of Heraclitus is, certainly, composed of opposites in perpetual opposition, which is a condition of becoming of things and, at the same time, its law and principle; but the opponents are led to harmonic synthesis by the logos, proportion or measure common to all, normative principle of the universe and the man who, in several respects, is coextensive with the primordial cosmic element, fire, therefore some interpretations identify them. Each pair of opposites is a plurality and, at the same time, a unit that depends on the reaction balanced between both; the total balance of the cosmos is maintained thanks to interaction endless between the opposites, guarantee that the change in one direction will eventually lead to another change in the opposite direction.
The logo expresses the underlying coherence of the things men must try to understand, since wisdom is to understand how it leads the world, and this understanding must be based on moderation and self-awareness, which Heraclitus put up as ethical ideal of man.