Changing or Unchanging Phenomena

The view of Heraclitus regarding the nature of reality depends on the vision that the reality’s basic element is fire. Fire is characterized by the ceaseless change determining the reality. This change is also based on the logos as a cosmic order. The view is rather reasonable because it addresses the universal problem of identity and the personal problem of identity to determine the ‘sameness’ of an object or a person. Thus, Heraclitus notes that reality’s permanence is rather illusory (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 25-26).

Empedocles states that the reality is unchangeable, but changes occur. This idea is based on the fact that objects are composed of earth, air, fire, and water which cannot change, but the positions of these elements can change because they are influenced by such important forces as love and strive (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 28).

Anaximander states that everything is formed of the substance which is very elementary, and it is more elementary than water. The reasons are in the fact that this substance should be boundless to explain the reality in the context of the natural powers (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 23-24).

Heraclitus focuses on the fire as the essential substance and on the changing reality. On the contrary, Parmenides does not determine the substance and states that the being is permanent. The views of philosophers are quite opposite, and the only similarity is in attempts to understand the being as a changing or unchanging phenomenon.

The ideas of Heraclitus are reasonable because he tries to focus on the union of opposites to explain the being’s changes, and Parmenides develops the idea of the changed object as the new object because the reality is unitary, undifferentiated, and eternal (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 27-28).

Protagoras discusses the man as “the measure of all things” (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 43). This view is effective to state that there is no absolute knowledge, but this argument is debated by Plato who points at the possibility to discuss subjective different views as valid.

Pythagoras discusses things as numbers. However, the philosopher’s opinion sounds more reasonably while focusing on the fact that things are things, but they can be enumerated as numbers. Thus, the universe is based on things which can be counted and grouped in order (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 24).

Anaxagoras points at the distinction between matter and mind where mind is the ‘nous’ or reason, it does not contain material particles in it, and it is the source of the motion. According to Anaxagoras, matter is consists of particles, it is not created by mind, and it is divisible (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 29). The view of Anaxagoras is rather reasonable to understand the connection between the matter and mind in the world.

It is possible to note that Heraclitus and Empedocles have the reasonable conception of the nature of reality because these philosophers tried to see the being in its complex nature, while paying attention to all the features. Thus, Heraclitus discusses the nature of reality based on ceaseless changes.

However, he proposes the idea of the logos to order the process of changes. As a result, the reality is explained as the organized union of opposites. Empedocles also develops two opposite views, according to which the basic elements are unchanging, but the changes in objects are observed, and they are the changes of material particles (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 28).

Plato criticized the views of Protagoras regarding the relativeness of knowledge because he interpreted the statement that the man was “the measure of all things” as the statement of the relativeness of knowledge (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 43). Plato notes that the focus on all the subjective ideas can be discussed as valid. That is why, the discussion of the view of Protagoras as false is also valid. Furthermore, Plato criticized the idea of the direct connection between relative knowledge and sense perception.

Plato notes that objects cannot be discussed as the reflections of the reality because the main source to understand the reality is to focus on Forms or Ideas. Plato explains that Forms such as Beauty or Truth can be perceived and known only intellectually. However, only Forms are eternal, they exist in mind and in reality. The argument behind the reality of Forms is that they are unchanging, eternal, and indivisible. These Ideas form the other unchanging world in contrast to the sensible world (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 38-40).

Aristotle’s notion of the 4 causes is based on the idea that things change because of being influenced by some causes. To discuss the thing, it is necessary to pay attention to its formal cause or its form; to its material cause or to the material used to make it; to its efficient cause or the origin; and to its final cause or the purpose (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 65).

Aristotle determines 10 main categories to discuss the being. These categories are the following ones: substance, quantity, quality, relationships, place, time, posture, constitution, passivity, and activity. To conclude about the concrete thing and the element of the being, it is necessary to discuss it in the context of the identified categories in order to make judgments about the certain thing (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 67).

Aristotle’s Third Man argument is developed to debate Plato’s theory of Forms. Thus, to discuss the form of coins according to Plato, it is necessary to introduce the third criterion which the Form circularity. Aristotle discusses forms only as universals, without introducing the third element (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 68).

Plato’s vision of Forms depends on discussing Forms as the additional objective elements or Ideas to discuss a thing because the discussed qualities exist apart from the objects. Aristotle discusses Forms as universals which are not as metaphorical as Plato’s Ideas. These universals cannot exist apart from the discussed things in contrast to Plato’s Ideas (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 69).

Aristotle states that everything that is real is “brought about by something” (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 71). Gorgias states that there is no reality, and it cannot be communicated even if it exists (Moore & Bruder, 2011, p. 42). As a result, Aristotle opposes this idea and paradox of reality and notes that the source of reality exists, it can be communicated, and it s the reason to state about the generation of reality because particular things form the reality in spite of being or not communicated to observe them or speak about them.


Moore, B. N., & Bruder, K. (2011). Philosophy: The power of ideas. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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