Heraclitus' and Wittgenstein's River Images - Stepping Twice Into The Same River
Stern (David G.)
Source: The Monist, Vol. 74, No. 4, Heraclitus (October 1991), pp. 579-604
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Stepping Twice into the Same River: This paper examines a number of river images which have been attributed to Heraclitus, the ways they are used by Plato and Wittgenstein, and the connection between these uses of imagery and the metaphilosophical issues about the nature and limits of philosophy which they lead to.
  2. After indicating some of the connections between Heraclitus', Plato's and Wittgenstein's use of river images, I give a preliminary reading of three crucial fragments from the Heraclitean corpus, associating each with a different river image. Each of these images implies an overall conception of the nature of change and continuity and of the relationship between language and world.
  3. I then turn to the use of these images by Plato and Wittgenstein, and explore the relationship between their uses of river imagery and their conceptions of philosophy.
  4. To put it slightly differently, this paper is about Plato's and Wittgenstein's use of certain Heraclitean ideas.

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