Sunday, 20 December 2015

Philosophical Fiction: Heraclitus

A work of science fiction can be about a particular science. Thus, there can be biological, psychological, sociological or cosmological fiction. I think that some of Poul Anderson's works may count as philosophical fiction.

In Europe, Thales initiated "natural philosophy," which developed into empirical science, whereas Socrates initiated conceptual philosophy, which we call "philosophy." Thales and his immediate successors, including Heraclitus, were the "Pre-Socratic philosophers."

A Time Patrol Specialist says:

"'...Heraclitus was approximately contemporary with the Buddha, and some of his thought shows close parallels.'"
-Poul Anderson, The Shield Of Time (New York, 1991), p. 53.

Heraclitus said, "Everything flows."

Manse Everard of the Patrol thinks:

"All is flux." (p. 99)

Everard also compares time to a river (see image) and history to a stream.

Heraclitus seems to be the philosopher of the Patrol, although he knows of "flowing" only in the first temporal dimension. In the Patrol's cosmology, the river not only flows but also can change course.

No comments: