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© Kamla-Raj 2014 Anthropologist, 18(3): 911-920 (2014)

Logos and Education: On the Educational Philosophy of


Heraclitus
Vefa Tasdelen

Faculty of Education, Yildiz Technical University, Esenler, istanbul, Turkey, 34220


E-mail: vefa@yildiz.edu.tr
KEYWORDS Educational Philosophy. Heraclitus. Logos. Wisdom. Self. Ethics

ABSTRACT In addition to antique disciplines such as ontology, epistemology and ethics, philosophy also contains
relatively new disciplines such as linguistic philosophy and educational philosophy. Educational philosophy meets
its most explicit definition in one of the contemporary philosophers of education like John Dewey’s works. Added
to that just as the case in the complete disciplines of philosophy, educational philosophy also bears a history that
can be traced back to the birth of the origin of philosophy. This history deals with the studies of its specific
problems, formulating its concepts and the realm of self-generating. With respect to the conceptual structure it
displays and the contribution it renders to the next educational thinking, it can be argued that within Western
philosophical tradition Heraclitus is among the forerunners of educational philosophy. The conceptual structure
Heraclitus posited has been so influential that although very few fragments could reach to the ensuing ages, his
teachings still preserve their huge impact. The concepts such as “logos”, “change”, “motion”, “dialectic” which
are all widely inclusive and explanatory all occupy a unique position within the history of philosophy. Besides, the
present article attempts to analyze Heraclitus’ educational philosophy within the framework of the logos concept.

INTRODUCTION the human existence logos is transformed into


awareness, character and life attitude. Within
Literature informs that Western philosophy this way of thinking there are expressions open-
began during 624-546 B.C. with the teachings of ing the path for human, social and educational
Thales. Thales’ saying that the arkhe of exist- philosophy.
ence is “water” that has enabled transition from Heraclitus’ fragments are the very rare ones
mythos to logos, as well as from oral tradition to that reached the modern day from his On Na-
individual thinking. His answer has received its ture (Peri Physeôs) work which was supposed-
visa for philosophical and scientific thinking tra- ly abandoned on Artemis temple. Diogenes
dition; the existence has been, without limit to Leartius claims that this work consists of three
mythology, yet it has attempted to be clarified parts namely universe, politics and theology
“in itself” and “with itself” by making use of a (1925: 413). These fragments reached have this
rational and realistic stance. current age through rumours of philosophers
Subsequent to Thales, Anaximenes and Anax- and biography authors such as Plato, Aristotle,
imandros who were the last greatest philoso- Diogenes Leartius, Plutarchus, Clement of Alex-
phers of Ionia tradition is Heraclitus of Ephe- andria etc. In the present paper, nearly 125 Her-
sus. He lived between 535-475 B.C. Since the aclitus fragments which are today valued as if
focal interest of these philosophers has been they were adages shall be elaborated on the ba-
illustrating nature (phisis), they were also rec- sis of educational thinking extending to “log-
ognized as “philosophers of nature”. In addi- os”, “change”, “dialectic”, and “ethics” con-
tion, their views directly and indirectly, has a cepts. The principal issue that guided the present
perfect applicable potential on human, social and paper is, within the concept of logos, the kind of
moral philosophy. This is most evident in the position which human nature and educational
teachings of Hetakleitos who says that; “I have issues occupy and the potential inferences to
searched myself” (F 19), hence turning “self fo- detect on this problem.
cus” into the central point of philosophy (Mau-
rizio 2013: 114). Hence, in contradiction to the HERACLITUS’ PHILOSOPHY
common belief in the philosophy tradition, fo- OF LOGOS
cus on the framework of human world did not
take initiative with sophists but in an earlier age The concepts and teachings introduced by
with Heraclitus of Ephesus. This is because in Heraclitus have reached to some extent till
912 VEFA TASDELEN

present day and have also left their effect on the also emerges as the basic law of the practices in
subsequent philosophies. The power of this ef- human world. In addition to its material dimen-
fect can be exemplified with the two quotes from sion, it can also be interpreted as the awareness
Kranz’s work (1984: 60): The first quote was which leads and shapes existence, and the men-
made by Hegel, who says that, “There are no tality in the existence as well as metaphysical
sayings of Heraclitus that does not fit into my principles. In Fragments some of the definitions
Logic” (1908: 214), and the second quote from on logos are written below:
Nietzsche says: “The world at all times is in need Œ Logos is the rational faculty ruling everything
of reality thus in need of Heraclitus” (Nietzche and every human being. Men can hear it, but
1963: 43). These claims directly reflect the strong still experience problems in understanding
power of Heraclitus’ teachings as well as the (Heraclitus 1959: 19).
derivatives of the philosophical potential of the Œ Logos is connecting “law”, inclusive “will”,
concepts he utilized. For instance, using a con- “common sense”; on the other hand men live
cept like logos did not only add depth, but also as if they have their own choices, wills and
a future to his philosophy. His logos concept, thoughts (Heraclitus 1959: 19, 20).
change concept, dialectic concept, unity and ΠLogos is the thought prevailing every other
multiplicity concept, and character (ethos) con- thing. Everything that happens and ends
cept are all signifiers of the conceptual structure does so according to logos. Heraclitus de-
of any philosophical work. Heraclitus, with wide- fines this failure to comprehend or realize as
ly inclusive and explanatory concepts such as a state of “sleep” (Heraclitus 1959: 19). Liv-
“logos”, “change”, “motion”, “fire” and “dia- ing one’s life without realizing logos is like
lectic” occupies a unique position in the history living in a sleep. There may be reasons for
of philosophy. The power of philosophy to gen- living in a sleep because logos does not rav-
erate concepts had already been visible in the el itself immediately but hides (Heraclitus
preceding philosophers, but it was with Heracli- 1959: 20). To achieve a connection with log-
tus that this practice became more evident than
os one has to move on the road that leads to
ever before. To visualize Heraclitus philosophy’s
“self discovery”.
effect on conceptual structure, it would be suffi-
cient enough to see the transformation of this ΠLogos is the explicit and implicit harmony.
philosophy on the teachings of Plato, Plotin, Heraclitus’; “The hidden harmony is bet-
Hegel, Marx, Bergson and Dewey who all pos- ter than the obvious” quote draws atten-
sess dissimilar sensitivities on philosophical tion to the hidden nature of logos (Heracli-
practices. tus 1959: 102).
Heraclitus is a philosopher worthy of ana- ΠLogos does not merely imply order; it also
lyzing from a variety of perspectives. Some view covers awareness which is the principle and
his philosophy as one of the origin points of main essence of order. In addition, the uni-
materialism while others argue that he is one of verse represents cosmos and order in con-
the two philosophers prioritizing Plato’s ideal- trast to chaos and conflict arising from the
ism (see Laguna 1921). To start with Heraclitus’ fight between the opposing forces in its own
philosophy is not a nature or human philoso- body. The emergence of a universe that is
phy, but a logos philosophy; only within this not in chaos or in disorder, but in the form of
framework that it is considered as both a human cosmos and order can be attributed to its
and nature philosophy. Logos is a Greek word subjectivity to logos.
corresponding to “reason”, “rational faculty”, Œ Universe and existence are cosmos since there
“common sense”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, is logos on the ground. Otherwise there would
“definition”, or “proportion” (Peters 1976: 110). be chaos and nothingness. In that sense, log-
This concept, while defining Heraclitus’ philos- os implies a number of connotations such as
ophy as “mental philosophy” on one hand, also arkhe, mentality in existence, inclusive will in
enables its metaphysical interpretation on the the universe, law in the nature, man’s power
other hand. Heraclitus views logos as the es- to demand and contemplate.
sence of existence, order, good and valued as- ΠWisdom can be connected to logos or in oth-
sets, morality and justice. Logos is not a con- er words it can be connected to the essence
cept that illustrates physical world merely, but it and nature of everything else. Man has to
LOGOS AND EDUCATION: ON THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF HERACLITUS 913

hear, listen and understand the voice of log- the same” (Heraclitus 1959: 90). Hence war, con-
os; that is the real wisdom. Ignorance is liv- flict and resulting harmony and unity are the
ing in a state of sleep with a complete un- ways logos exposes and posits itself to the out-
awareness of logos (Heraclitus 1959: 19). side world. This way of expression is the law of
That is why in some people, logos is more existence and disintegration. Heraclitus defines
abundant when compared to other men dialectic formed with oppositions as, “self con-
(Herkleitos 2009: 107). ciliation of originally irreconcilable things” (Her-
ΠStill a thorough comprehension of logos is aclitus 1959: 133). The conflict within the exist-
something much beyond the limits of human ence is one and unique in logos. Accepting that
faculty. Heraclitus (2009: 189) labels this deep all is one is an act of wisdom. Wisdom is one and
comprehension as something not human but unique (Heraclitus 1959: 102). Uniqueness and
divine. That is because man’s intellect is, just harmony is not a resulting effect of the coexist-
like enlightenment philosopher Kant adds, ence of similar natures; harmony is the concilia-
restricted and limited. tion between opposing nature elements: between
Stating the mentality in existence, logos is wet and dry, high and low, cold and hot, dark-
not a stable process, but rather a functioning ness and light, coming and going (Schindler
process. Existence changes with the conflict 2003). Logos is the war and resulting harmony
between opposite poles, but this change fol- between these opposing natures. “Opposition
lows a certain framework of law. Logos mani- brings concord. Out of discord comes the fair-
fests itself on the basis of entity and existence est harmony” (Heraclitus 1959: 90). Despite such
as motion and change. Everything moves, noth- dialectic structure and war in existence the emer-
ing stays the same. Heraclitus explains this no- gence of existence rather than nothingness or
tion as, “You cannot step into the same river the rise of cosmos but not the chaos is the clear
twice for other waters are continuously flowing statement of the main principle of logos. During
in” (panta rei) (1959: 29). “Into the same rivers this process everything emerges out of its coun-
we step and we do not step” (F 90) is another terpart and transforms into its counterpart in the
statement indicating the change in existence. end. Existing in both physical world and human
Change in philosophy brings with itself renova- world, dialectic invariably moves existence from
tion and progress. Heraclitus’ saying “The Sun one point to a different point. In this transforma-
is new each day” (1959: 37) refers to vitality and tion there exists no beginning and no end. Cy-
progress in the universe and not only in person- clical time approach of Antique Greek culture
al existence. Change and motion bring happen- can also be traced in the existence and time ap-
ing and disintegration as well. All mortal beings proach of Heraclitus. Accordingly, matter and
disintegrate due to the speed and velocity of time lack neither beginning nor an end; there is a
change, but after a while they reintegrate. Thus, constant transformation. Heraclitus’ quote, “In
life and death coexist within the natural flow of the circle the beginning and the end are com-
process. For the mind, death means reaching mon” indicates this timeless and eternal trans-
logos and transforming to logos (Heraclitus 1959: formation (Heraclitus 1959: 90). He argues that
29, 90); but it also implies a novel life. Thus within this transformation life and death, sleep
“change” which is one of the key issues of phi- and awakening, young and old age are all one
losophy gains a depictive character in Heracli- and the same since with a rapid and unexpected
tus. Logos is not only change of awareness in transformation old ones can turn into new ones
men, but also the very law and determinant of while new ones change into old ones (Heracli-
change itself. tus 1959: 91).
Logos implies the mentality in existence. This In the philosophy of Heraclitus, one of the
mentality emerges in the form of conflict and other key concepts is “fire”. He depicts the uni-
harmony. To emphasize the dialectic structure in verse as, “the timeless and eternal light lighting
existence, Heraclitus argues such: “War is both and extinguishing according to certain rules”
father and king of all; some has shown forth as (Heraclitus 1959: 37). Another potential physi-
gods and others as men; some he has made cal and metaphysical meaning of fire is that it is
slaves and others free” (Herkleitos 2009: 29). some sort of a power which enables motion, vi-
Night and day are the same (Herkleitos 2009: tality, change and transformation. It is the ener-
91), “The way up and the way down are one and gy behind kinesis or motion. Motion and war
914 VEFA TASDELEN

emerges with it, existence turns into harmony he grounded his philosophy. Once the traces of
from opposition and unity from multiplicity. “Fire this conceptual structure which forms Heracli-
lives in the death of earth, air in the death of fire, tus’ philosophy are detailed, it is feasible to reach
water in the death of air and earth in the death of an educational approach as well (Mashalidis
water” (Heraclitus 1959: 37). 2003).

HERACLITUS’ PHILOSOPHY Logos and Wisdom


OF EDUCATION
As naturally expected a Logos-centered phi-
In addition to antique disciplines such as losophy shall also bear an educational approach
ontology, epistemology and ethics, philosophy that is logos-centered. There is a unity and par-
also contains relatively new disciplines such as allelism among the order of existence, the princi-
linguistic philosophy and educational philoso- ple of existence and principles of human think-
phy. Educational philosophy, despite being a ing; they are all subjected to the same logos. It
contemporary discipline, can date back to the is the same law that gives order to the nature
origins of philosophy just as the case of the and human mind. Heraclitus’ teaching that there
other philosophy disciplines. Dewey (1918: 699) is the unity of logos as the basis law empowers
depicts that, philosophy itself can be viewed as the view that logos inside and outside of man is
a general educational theory. Likewise, the es- actually the one and the very same logos. Hence
sence of human nature, the way and reason hu- the capacity of the human mind to comprehend
mans must be trained and similar issues that are nature, its fitness with nature and also the moral
related to education are also within the tradition and legal system man lives by collectively refer
of philosophy teaching. It goes without much to logos. The tracing of thinking after logos is a
dispute that man could attain his earliest ratio- state of foundational welfare and sophistication.
nal, systematic, censurable and questionable In that case education is uniting the mind with
data pertaining to the man and the universe via the unique structure of logos and training the
implementing philosophy which implies not the mind in a way to hear and follow its call. Educa-
knowledge alone, but the means to attain the tion is transposing the self into an adaptable
knowledge too. The critical, questioning, and sensitive manner with logos. The level of
grounding and rational structure of philosophy this educational sophistication finds meaning
is also a way to obtain knowledge. Just like mod- in Heraclitus as “wisdom” indicating the matu-
ern science which generates itself on the basis ration of the soul and identity. Man can move
of experiment, observation and induction, phi- alongside this road through self research and
losophy has a critical attitude, a functional style discovering of logos within and outside itself.
of operation and a way of thinking. Wisdom means establishing dialogue with log-
Within the history of philosophy, one of the os; listening to the voice of logos, comprehend-
originators of educational philosophy is Hera- ing it and becoming aware of its existence. The
clitus. His philosophy has been a source of in- person capable of setting this dialogue can be-
spiration throughout history for famed philoso- come familiar with logos and attain wisdom. This
phers such as Plato, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marks, insight partially reminds us of Plato’s theory of
Bergson, as well as educational philosophers ideas and knowledge approach as it emerges
such as Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Spencer, White- from the framework of this theory.
head and Dewey who were deeply inspired from Heraclitus lists “first class” men as the best.
his teachings on “experience”, “change”, “pro- He claims that “to me one man is worth the thou-
cess”, “mental training”, “moral and character sand if he is the first rate.” As implied in this
education” concepts. As mentioned above Her- fragment of Heraclitus, he posits an elitist atti-
aclitus did not bequeath a systematic philosoph- tude reminiscent of Nietzsche on the basis of
ical structure but specific concepts on which character and mind. Who then are the first rate
extensive comments can be made. Among these men? They are the ones who have selected eter-
concepts, motion can carry us to his education- nal fame among mortals; in a different saying,
al views. The quality featuring his name above they are wise men who can hear the voice of
his counterparts and keeping its effect for ages logos and stick to it; the ones capable of uniting
is the powerful conceptual structure onto which logos within themselves with the logos outside
LOGOS AND EDUCATION: ON THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF HERACLITUS 915

are the ones who obtain knowledge in this way. goodness as the harmony of individual will with
In Plato, (1987: 293) this quality emerges via universal will, Hegel once more takes a return
meticulous training and inner purification. The towards Heraclitus. In terms of education, how-
ones whose “mind eye” are opened can visual- ever, what really matters is self seeking and dis-
ize the Sun as it illuminates everything around covering oneself in logos. Moving beyond the
(Plato 1987: 256). He argues that men usually limits of self identity is, as Heraclitus believed,
live unaware of logos which they see and live the ideal sense of education. This is an attempt
together every other day; just like slaves who towards praxis, not to practicality, but to theo-
live, as Plato states in his “cave metaphor”, with ria and wisdom (sophos). It connotes that Dew-
their hands and feet chained, unaware of the ey’s educational philosophy finds its roots in
Sun and facing towards blank walls. Such life is Heraclitus, but it also differs in certain aspects.
living without any virtue. Wisdom is realizing For instance, in Heraclitus praxis lacks a defi-
the existence of logos; recognizing its entity and nite position. According to him change is not,
uniting with it. Wisdom is also accepting that as it is in Dewey’s case, something that surfaces
there is Logos and it is a unity. Still this is quite praxis but rather a process of maturation and
a rare experience because it appears that major- education process aiming for wisdom and deep
ity of people do not stick to logos, rather adhere harmony of logos. Consequently, it does not
to their personal thoughts, wills and desires and necessarily imply one’s discovering of self or
live without ever realizing conciliations, harmo- self interest; instead it implies discovering one’s
ny and common law. In a metaphorical sense, existence within the universe and realizing the
Heraclitus explains this state as, “Pigs wash in meaning of one’s existence.
mud and domestic fowls in dust or ashes” (1959: “Self discovery” is “self research” and “self
90). Wisdom implies uniting with logos and dis- knowing”; it is the ability to perceive oneself
covering oneself in logos. Wisdom is the most within time and space. This can be achieved via
significant value which is, above all else, a state communicating with the key principle of exist-
of awareness. Heraclitus prioritizes awareness ence; Logos. What constitutes the core of this
and makes warning as “One should not act or process is not gaining certain skills, but under-
speak as if he were asleep” (1959: 20). Only then standing and seeking after oneself, thus enter-
can man feel the real meaning of being human. ing into a stage of maturation. It would be a
“The waking has one world in common sleepers misconception to link the state of being educat-
have each a private world of his own” (Heracli- ed with learning a set of knowledge. Maturation
tus 1959: 20). Awakening expresses universal is the real meaning of being educated. In a frag-
harmony and ability to unite the harmony of log- ment, Heraclitus states that, “Much learning
os with universal harmony. Wisdom refers to does not teach understanding” (Heraclitus 1959:
understanding Logos, integrating universal law 19). What matters is not knowing much; the real
of cosmos, eternalizing to some extent one’s own thing that matters is maturating in terms of char-
restricted self. Philistinism is living without the acter and traits which can be attained through
awareness of logos. Such people live as if they wisdom and internalizing the knowledge. In-
are outsiders; they literally have no insight as deed knowledge looks like a physical ornament
regards themselves and the world outside. on some people while for some others it is like
the Venus guiding their lives. If that does not
Logos and Dicovering the Self happen, it means there is no wisdom or virtue on
the surface.
Logos occurs in a monist structure. As the According to Heraclitus wisdom, which is
unity, harmony and mentality in existence logos the key objective of education is, rather than
represents law and harmony (Heidegger and Fink knowing a set of information, but knowing one-
1989: 159). A person’s education reveals itself in self. Man is like his own light. “I have searched
the capacity of integrating oneself with the uni- myself” (Heraclitus 1959: 19) is actually implica-
versal self; being subjected to a will beyond self; tive of the essence of educational approach.
moving away in this way one’s inherent self. What is first in need of discovering is man him-
Hegel’s great admiration for Heraclitus is not for self. Each man can discover life, man and logos
nothing. It finds meaning as Heraclitus’ logos, via self research. Next comes discovery of joy
Hegel’s Absolute Spirit (Geist). While defining and maturation; war and dialectic. The gate and
916 VEFA TASDELEN

first step to all discoveries is self discovery. Be- emphasize that any kind of knowledge one
sides, Heraclitus should not be seen directly as learns without knowing himself is likely to cause
a philosopher of nature, but as a scholar dealing harm rather than benefit. Socrates is one of them
with the life, ethics and educational life of hu- and the best known one with his saying “Know
mans. Hence, the basic concepts of his philoso- thyself!” Likewise, Turkish thinker Yunus Emre
phy need to be explained accordingly. “Know draws close links with wisdom and self know-
thyself” and “Self directed awareness” is an ing. Placing self discovery into the center of his
adage witnessed in the teaching of subsequent own philosophy Heraclitus also claims that “Sur-
names such as Socrates, Augustinus, Mevlana, passing arrogance (hybris) is a lot more virtu-
Yunus Emre, Giambattista Vico and Muhammad ous than extinguishing the fire” (Heraclitus 1959:
Iqbal (Taþdelen 2012) can be dated to Heracli- 83), to point towards the danger of not knowing
tus’ philosophy as a real educational approach. yourself. Likewise, law is a criterion that, in terms
His educational philosophy deserves to be as- of society’s knowledge of itself and establish-
sessed within the framework of self researching ing its own order, binds the society together
and discovery. There are certain steps in this and describes the justice and fairness. Once the
discovery: (1). Discovering oneself in himself, law is eliminated, then there is no criterion left.
(2). Discovering oneself in society, (3). Discov- Just like the ethical norms guiding human be-
ering oneself in nature and as a consequence of haviors, laws are a set of regulations directing
all these steps (4) Discovering oneself in logos. social life and defining justice as well as inter-
Education makes up this “awareness of the self”. personal legal order. Heraclitus’ teaching, “The
Awareness of the self is not the equivalent of people should fight for their law as for their city
losing oneself in one’s existence but rediscov- wall” (Heraclitus 1959: 83) refers to law on social
ering yourself within universal harmony and or- level subsequent to ethics on personal level and
der. Within this framework, change appears not justice on social level subsequent to virtue on
in the form of mortality, but as the integration personal level. Both aspects matter greatly in
with eternal transformation. Discovery of the self terms of logos and constitutes the focal con-
within upper self is the peak limit in the educa- cept of Heraclitus’ philosophy. Indeed, logos is
tional approach of Heraclitus. finding existence on personal level, whereas law
is finding existence on social level. Constituting
Logos and Values of Education the base of existence, cosmos and order is the
way logos comes into being in human life.
Implying the harmonious action with Logos Logos idea is the claim that everything is
wisdom indicates a state of awakening, purifica- essentially good. If it is the upper will of logos
tion of soul and clarity of mind. The meaning of which dominates change and motion then good-
the quote: “The one loving wisdom needs to be ness should also be the main principle. This is
a good researcher in many topics” (Herakleitos parallel to Plato’s saying that, “only good things
1999: 33) can be viewed as the process which come from God”, “bad things can have no idea”
shall before all else unite the man with single (1987: 74-75). In that case, wickedness is a con-
logos and lead him to self discovery. The pro- dition arising from not the domination but lack
cess of wisdom that comes out with Logos cor- of domination of logos. Education is uniting with
responds to understating the existence within this harmony and goodness in logos whereas
the context of a “unity” and “integrity”. The ignorance and lack of education constantly fight
maturation of character and thinking can occur with harmony and goodness. Logos corresponds
via a principle of wisdom attributing the exist- to character, law and order. Education is keeping
ence to a sole principle and making it under- up with this law and making the body and soul
standable and livable around this principle. Her- compatible with this law. The power that domi-
aclitus pleads that “Wisdom is one and unique” nates both inside and outside of man is known
(Heraclitus 1959: 93), “Law involves obeying the as logos. If logos is the main principle then both
council of One” (Heraclitus 1959: 83). This is change and all the things happening are good.
not only knowledge but it is also an attitude for Education and virtue is adapting to this change
life. Knowing oneself is, for a number of philos- that logos dominates; hearing the voice and will
ophers, the essence of morality, virtue and of logos and uniting it with personal will as well
knowledge of existence. Some philosophers as taking part in the unity in logos. What is
LOGOS AND EDUCATION: ON THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF HERACLITUS 917

known as education makes us more adapted to acter and joy. Logos does not only form the war
logos. In that case, education shall be training and order in nature; it also constitutes the mo-
for improving “hearing”, “sensing” and “aware- rality and joy in man. Heraclitus grasps happi-
ness” skills. The ones capable of hearing and ness not only physically but with its spirituality
feeling Logos shall then start the process of ed- as well. Going for the needs and pleasures of
ucation. In fact, education shall turn into an ac- physical existence cannot make a man happy.
tivity setting the base for both morality and law. Heraclitus argues in an aphorism that: “If happi-
Education is a value study, a study on val- ness consisted in bodily pleasures we should
ues in another saying. If education produces no describe cattle as happy when they are eating
value at all, then it shall bear no clear meaning fodder.” (Heraclitus 1959: 157). With his teach-
and there shall be no education either. Con- ing which prioritizes the education of the mind
sciously or unconsciously all our educational and character at first he recalls Aristotle’s ethics
practices are directed towards good value and of happiness that connects happiness not to
revolve around this value. In any situation we bodily pleasures, but activities of the soul (Ar-
name as education it is inevitable for us to ig- istotle 1977: 88, 91). Thus, an awareness and
nore some values. This is exactly the same case state of consciousness lie on the basis of happi-
in the making of philosophy. Unless we are con- ness. This awareness can also be interpreted as
vinced that our ideas shall make some sense grasping logos which constitutes the essence
and form a seed of goodness there will be no of existence; connecting with the existence and
reason left for us to write or speak. Just like the keeping up harmony with it. Real happiness
constant war between high and low, darkness comes from awareness and knowledge. With this
and light, health and sickness, beauty and beast, knowledge and awareness man can establish
youth and old age, a unity and harmony is communication with the mentality in existence,
reached at the end of this constant conflict as and also integrate and unify with it.
there exists a never ending struggle between “Temperance” is another formative value of
good and bad. It is certain that there shall be a virtue and character. Temperance is one of the
unity at the end of their battle too but it does not concepts brought forward in Greek ethics and
necessarily mean that good and bad are one and aesthetics. In addition to knowledge, justice and
the same at all times. For Heraclitus education is boldness that collectively form virtue, Plato men-
principally an effort to generate awareness, wis- tions “temperance” which is a complementary
dom and values. In his teachings, what consti- element of the aspects above. Temperance is
tutes the core of education, is its potential to be also one of the basic concepts of Aristotle’s
shaped around “its good value”. Once its good approach of aesthetics. He claims that a work of
value is eradicated the reason for education is art should not be in a dimension that goes be-
automatically eliminated. In that case, education yond one’s limit of perception. In a piece of art
implies putting human world into an order firstly this limit is defined with respect to “greatness
and then regulating it according to logos and and smallness”, and with respect to “longness
common sense. and shortness” in a literary text. Heraclitus plac-
es “temperance” above all these dimensions and
Logos and the Teaching of Ethics names temperance as a statement of logos. He
asserts that knowing thyself and maintaining
In the teachings of Heraclitus education sur- temperance is like an attire perfectly fitting the
faces not in the form of acquiring certain knowl- nature of man. “To be temperate is the greatest
edge, but in the form of maturation and gaining virtue. Wisdom consists in speaking and acting
traits and character. His argument is that an ed- the truth” (Heraclitus 1959: 19).
ucated man does not mean the one who knows As demonstrated above in Heraclitus’ teach-
much, but the one who understands much (Her- ing, education mostly comes into prominence in
aclitus 1959: 19); the one who has reached uni- the forms of moral education and character edu-
versal harmony; the one who can feel the high- cation but that does not cover the entire scope
est logos in himself and the universe and the of education: The relation between Logos and
one who can participate the most in this harmo- education introduces with itself wisdom in man,
ny. In line with this saying the prioritized con- morals, traits and character; on societal level,
cepts in his educational approach are traits, char- however it manifests itself in the form of order,
918 VEFA TASDELEN

law and justice. The establishment of character be educated only once and for all. But in reality
and virtue on a personal level and securing jus- the evolution within one man is never ending so
tice at the societal level constitutes the objec- is the education itself. Accordingly education
tive of education. Only then can man become implies one’s constant efforts of self construc-
harmonious with logos. In that sense Heracli- tion and making himself adaptable and sensible
tus’ saying, “Man’s character is his fate” (1999: to the communication and progress ever-present.
81) can reasonably be construed as, “man’s ed-
ucation is his fate”. Logos and Change

Logos and Dialectic Process Heraclitus has attributed a philosophical


depth to change concept and explained it within
There is constant transformation in the uni- the scope of a philosophy and global envision.
verse. This transformation corresponds to the Change concept has been worded by the signif-
war witnessed in dialectic and opposing natures. icant philosophers throughout the history of
That war is not limited with the very nature of philosophy and has found a place within educa-
humans but outside men as well. The vitality tional philosophies as well. In terms of educa-
and motion in nature can take place via this trans- tional philosophy, the most important one is
formation as also worded by Heraclitus: “Fire Dewey (1918, 1998); founder of “progressivist”
lives in the death of earth, air in the death of fire, ecole and representative of pragmatist philoso-
water in the death of air, and earth in the death of phy. Dewey places the concept borrowed from
water” (1959: 37). “The death of fire is the birth Heraclitus to the center of his educational ap-
of air, death of air is the birth of water” (Heracli- proach. While there is constant change in all, it
tus 1999: 47). “Cool things become warm, the would not fit with the definition and objective of
warm grows cool; the moist dries, the parched education to envisage a never changing educa-
becomes moist” (Heraclitus 1959: 29). It cannot tional approach. Education must be ordered on
be argued that transformation is kind of change the basis of change. Change should, no matter
that terminates the war in and out of man or a where and when, come out in a suitable and ap-
kind of change that makes opposing natures as propriate manner for transformation and should
a like natures. The fight between opposing na- be saved from an ineffective repeatation of itself
tures, the resulting unity and harmony is the within a vicious circle. All these changes in the
statement referring to logos in man and nature. realm of education should be performed within
Consequently, education is the attempt to make the framework and light of constant logos. That
man adapt to logos, which is an awareness di- saves the phenomenon from being an ordinary
rected to many things including stopping the and coincidental activity. All things change, but
war inside man. On the contrary, it is directed to they change according to logos. Thanks to log-
assist man in realizing the war that occurs within os because change can become adaptive to uni-
and outside of one self and how to manage this versal spirit and universal flow. Heraclitus’ edu-
war. Education is, on the axle of ignorance and cational philosophy bears subjective, local, ob-
wisdom, poverty and virtue, soul and body, a jective and universal qualities.
never-ending walk towards maturation. Educa- Once change is accepted, it then becomes a
tion is the battle between wisdom and ignorance, necessity to build life and the world on its foun-
darkness and light, good and bad, and the battle dation. Against the problem of existence and
of mental power with mental deafness and blind- happening, Heraclitus introduces philosophy of
ness. As a constant attempt for wisdom, this “change” and “process” which has the poten-
struggle of education is not a holus-bonus pro- tial to affect the subsequent events. Philosophy
cess; it is a progressive process that will last for of process is the existence of logos in change
a whole lifetime. It is man’s duty to continue this and the emergence of all things within the frame-
fight. As worded by Rousseau (1979: 62) there is work of awareness and mentality and thus be-
no way to claim that “I am now fully mature”. come more comprehensible. If everything is
Man’s fight with himself is for a lifetime because changing, it is then a must to be well prepared
change and motion last eternally. If everything against this change and to determine its effects.
stayed the same there would be no need to sus- Likewise, it matters to make use of the experi-
tain education either; it would be sufficient to ences gained by change. It is also important to
LOGOS AND EDUCATION: ON THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF HERACLITUS 919

generate a value against change. If change takes find little” (Heraclitus 1959: 19); so is the case in
place within the framework of logos and devel- learning from experiences.
ops in line with logos, then it means there is In the light of these findings one’s own life
nothing like corruption in existence, but progress is the vital part constituting one’s own educa-
and advancement instead. The actualization of tion: man can train himself, develop himself and
change in harmony with logos is something that become his own light. But these can only take
can be achieved via education. Education is the place if he finds a way to learn from his own
means through which man can canalize the experiences and becomes the student of his per-
change in his/her society in a positive direction. sonal life. While Heraclitus argues that “I have
If that cannot be achieved a blind and deaf flow sought myself” what he really means is “I trained
is likely to happen. Education is a vital compo- myself”, “I put my thinking and comprehension
nent to enable positive emergence of change capacity into action”, “I have learnt myself”, “I
and unleashing its good value. have tried to conceive the existence and life”
and lastly “I have become the student of my
Logos and Life Experiences own experiences”. A different dimension of the
concept of “Experience” found meaning in the
The treatment of daily experiences takes upcoming centuries with Locke, Rousseau,
place in the form of listening and speaking. For Spencer and Dewey. It is an approach that is,
Heraclitus, listening corresponds to hearing and like the main principle in modern educational
listening to the voice of logos on the top level. approaches, concretizes the taught material and
But that is not the only case: Hearing and estab- regulates educational context to address the
lishing connection with the logos in speech and ears, eyes and likewise the sense organs. Hera-
life experiences is also a part of this experience. clitus in his quote, “Eyes are more accurate wit-
In speaking and listening, logos can find its nesses than ears” (Heraclitus 1959: 19) points to
equivalence only in wise men. The ones with no a significant finding of modern pedagogy. In that
share of wisdom or logos cannot simply hear the case the co-witness of eyes and ears shall be
voice of logos in speech either. Thus, for them even more effective than their single witnesses.
speech becomes not a power that illuminates In a different fragment he states that the things
the facts, but something that covers and hides of which there can be sight, hearing and learn-
the fact as explained in this quote: “Fools al- ing-these are especially praise (Heraclitus 1959:
though they hear are like the deaf: to them the 19). While arguing that eyes and ears are some
adage applies that when present they are ab- poor witnesses for wicked souls (Heraclitus 1959:
sent” (Heraclitus 1959: 58). The key point is that 20), these organs are in reality good witnesses
during this process man should be able to distill for the sensitive souls in seeing and understand-
his personal life experiences and become the very ing reality, forming life experiences and trans-
student of his living. The bond of experience forming such experiences into wisdom. In that
makes the man a witness of his own life and way, different forms of self teaching, self seek-
existence. That means that there is no end of life ing and self discovery arise. Diogenes Leartius
experience at one point but a continuous con- asserts that Heraclitus received no lessons from
centration. It can thus be argued that man does anyone, did not become the student of anyone
not only establish a connection with logos. At but engaged in self seeking and by so doing
the same time as a living and active representa- taught himself (Diogenes Leartius 1925: 413). If
tion of this connection he also becomes a stu- that is so, then as a good observer he could
dent of this personal experience of existence. become the student and has to witness his own
Man derives his knowledge on the basis of his life experiences and learn the key lessons for
personal life, but life on its own does not change life.
into knowledge or experience. The key lesson is
the ability to transform living into experience. CONCLUSION
Learning one’s lesson from life experiences calls
for a state of the clarity of mind, which is exactly In the philosophy of Heraclitus the key prin-
a practice reminding one of the work of gold ciple is, just as the case in all his sayings and
seekers. Heraclitus exemplifies this parallelism the concept of logos too. Since the inner and
such: “Seekers after gold dig up much earth and outer world of man can act in harmony and in
920 VEFA TASDELEN

unity according to a logos, education would also wisdom is what education must provide. In the
actualize the very same logos accordingly. This light of his teaching, education is a kind of ac-
logos shall answer to the meaning and objective tivity guiding man to goodness, or in another
of education as well as the whys and hows of saying to the voice and order of logos. This wis-
man’s educational process. Only through edu- dom is the key objective of life, the highest level
cation can man’s connection with one and a sin- of maturation and the source of all virtues and
gle logos both within himself and outside his goodness.
existence be actualized. In the realm of this en-
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