Journal of Continental Philosophy

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2020

On the Turning Against

Drew A. Hyland
Pages 244-259

Heraclitus the Jock

The ancient Ephesian thinker Heraclitus, in his aphoristic writings, described the dynamic coming-to-be of things according to a number of obscure metaphors. In this essay, Hyland ponders whether there is a paradigmatic experience according to which a number of these metaphors can best be understood. Gathering together and thoughtfully retranslating a number of Greek terms including polemos (often translated as “war”), eris (“strife”), agon (“contest”), and paidia (“play”), Hyland argues that Heraclitus’s metaphors can be understood as referring to an experience of athletic play. Hyland explores the significance of athletic play, with its stance of responsive openness, as a paradigm for thinking and living.