On the Ethical Dimension of Heraclitus' Thought

In David Wolfsdorf (ed.), Early Greek Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 37-53 (2020)
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This paper argues that Heraclitus was deeply and centrally interested in ethical questions, understood broadly as questions about how human beings should live. In particular, I argue, Heraclitus held that wisdom is essential for living well, and that most people lack the kind of fundamental insight into the nature of reality in which wisdom consists. Topics covered include Heraclitus’ views on: the good and bad condition of the soul, the nature and sources of wisdom, the reasons why most people remain oblivious to the world in which they live, and the connections between acquiring genuine insight into reality and becoming like god.



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Mark Johnstone
McMaster University

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References found in this work

On 'Logos' in Heraclitus.Mark A. Johnstone - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 47:1-29.
Ancient theories of soul.Hendrik Lorenz - unknown - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Heraclitus and the Art of Paradox.Mary Margaret Mackenzie - 1988 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 6:1.
The Socratic Doctrine of the Soul.John Burnet - 1916 - Pub. For the British Academy by H. Milford, Oxford University Press.
Heraclitus on Law.Malcolm Schofield - 2015 - Rhizomata 3 (1).

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