is the possibility of change in a thing that hasbeing, that exists.
In thephilosophicalstudy ofontology, the concept of becoming originated inancient Greecewith the philosopherHeraclitusof Ephesus, who in the sixth century BC, said that nothing in this world is constant except change and becoming. This point was made by Heraclitus with the famous quote No man ever steps in the same river twice.1His theory stands in direct contrast to the philosophic idea of being, first argued byParmenides, a Greek philosopher from the italicMagna Grecia, who believed that the change or becoming we perceive with our senses is deceptive, and that there is a pure perfect and eternal being behind nature, which is the ultimate truth of being. This point was made by Parmenides with the famous quote what is-is. Becoming, along with its antithesis of being, are two of the foundation concepts in ontology. Scholars have generally believed that either Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides, though opinion on who was responding to whom changed over the course of the 20th century.
In philosophy, the word becoming concerns a specificontologicalconcept which should not be confused withprocess philosophyas a whole or with the related study ofprocess theology.2
Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC) spoke extensively about becoming. Shortly afterwardsLeucippusof Miletus similarly spoke of becoming as themovement of atoms.
Plutarchus(De animae procreatione, 5 p. 1014 A) wrote concerning Heraclitus:
This universal order, which is the same for all, has not been made by any god or man, but it always has been, is, and will be an ever-living fire, kindling itself by regular measures and going out by regular measures.
According to tradition,3Heraclitus wrote a treatise about nature named ὶ ύς (Per phýses), About Nature, in which appears the famous aphorism ά ῥῖ (panta rhei) translated literally as the whole flows [as a river], or figuratively as everything flows, nothing stands still. The concept of becoming in philosophy is connected with two others: movement and evolution, as becoming assumes a changing to and a moving toward. Becoming is the process or state of change and coming about in time and space.
German philosopherFriedrich Nietzschewrote that Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction.4Nietzsche developed the vision of a chaotic world in perpetual change and becoming. The state of becoming does not produce fixed entities, such asbeing, subject, object, substance, thing.These false concepts are the necessary mistakes which consciousness and language employ in order to interpret the chaos of the state of becoming. The mistake of Greek philosophers was to falsify the testimony of the senses and negate the evidence of the state of becoming. By postulatingbeingas the underlying reality of the world, they constructed a comfortable and reassuring after-world where the horror of the process of becoming was forgotten, and the empty abstractions ofreasonappeared as eternal entities.
This is how Plato puts Heraclitus doctrine. See
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition)
With the highest respect, I except the name of Heraclitus. When the rest of the philosophic folk rejected the testimony of the senses because they showed multiplicity and change, he rejected their testimony because they showed things as if they had permanence and unity. Heraclitus too did the senses an injustice. But Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction.
P. Fitzgerald, Four Kinds of Temporal Becoming,
This page was last edited on 31 May 2019, at 14:14