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Doctrinalia Heraclitea I et II: Âme du monde et embrasement universel (Notes de lecture)

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In this first paper dealing with Heraclitus' doctrine as such (as opposed to the texts both of our sources on him and of the surviving fragments of his book), the author examines and discusses two recent controversial articles with the content of which he sympathizes – one by Gábor Betegh (2007) on the cosmological (physical) status of Heraclitus' psychê, and the other by Aryeh Finkelberg (1998) on Heraclitus' cosmogony and the reality of a Heraclitean world conflagration. This examination is aimed, first, at fostering "marginal" opinions which the author believes to be fundamentally correct – and the rejection of which since times immemorial (by Schleiermacher and others) he considers to have greatly harmed and hampered our understanding of the Ephesian philosopher ; second, at introducing some personal corrections and additions to these opinions ; and third, at illustrating the advantages of a deliberately un prejudiced approach towards our sources, an approach based on the presumption of innocence, knowledgeability and intelligence for all our informers and on the rejection of any rejection [this is not a dittography!] of any source on ground of mere suspicion.

Among the proposed novelties (or olden oblivitions) the following particularly deserve to be underscored: (1) the defense of the authenticity of "fr. B 76" DK qua three different fragments and (2) the reconstruction of Heraclitus' system of four physical exhalations – both of which are connected with the notion of a world soul; and (3) the interpretation of Plat. Soph. 242 C – 243 A [T 132] as confirming (and not as contradicting) Arist. De cael. 279b12 [T 170] and (4) the cosmogonical interpretation of F 31 – both of which presuppose the reality of a Heraclitean ecpyrosis.

Yet, since the author's dogmatism does not extend beyond the requirement of having re course to (methodo)logically sound procedures, he is ready to give up any conclusion of which it can be proven that it is irreconcilably contradicted by a sounder one and supported by none.

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