Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 13, Issue 2, Spring 2009

Selected Articles of the Ancient Philosophy Society

Phil Hopkins
Pages 209-228

Weaving the Fish Basket
Heraclitus on Riddles and the Relation of Word and World

Heraclitus stands in opposition to the general systematic tendency of philosophy in that he insisted that the contents of philosophy are such as to require expositional strategies whose goal it is to do something with and to the reader rather than merely say something. For him, the questions of philosophy and, indeed, the matters of the world such questions take up are not best approached by means of discursive propositions. His view of the relation of the structures of reality to the structures of language requires procedures for understanding the world and talking about it that recognize and exploit the essentially riddle-like nature of both things and words.