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5: Heraclitus & The Pre-Platonic Philosophers

Today, we’re going to delve for the first time into one of Nietzsche’s influences. Heraclitus is known for his sayings such as “Everything flows”, and “One cannot step into the same river twice.” Heraclitus lived during a time before philosophy was well-defined as a discipline, and before there were well-known philosophical schools in Greece. Nietzsche had his own fascinating theories about the philosophers who lived before Plato, and we cannot understand his inspiration from Heraclitus without understanding how he perceived the Pre-Platonics: as archetypal philosophers, who dared to uniquely define their own style of philosophical thought. This was the greatness of the figures Nietzsche called, somewhat controversially, the Pre-Platonics. They were the first Greek philosophers, at a time before philosophy, science and religion had split. Rather than seeing them as outdated or unimportant, Nietzsche sees a fascinating narrative about the rise of materialism and scientific thought, and in Heraclitus - perhaps the very model for Nietzsche’s own philosophical quest.

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A podcast about Nietzsche's ideas, his influences, and those he influenced. Philosophy and cultural commentary through a Nietzschean lens.