What Is Common to All

Review of Metaphysics 11 (3):359 - 379 (1958)


The saying reads, "The waking have a single cosmos in common," i.e., a single world-shape in which they take part in common. By this is already expressed what the later moral philosopher Plutarch, who preserved the fragment for us, pointed to in his interpretation: in sleep each turns away from the common cosmos and turns to something which belongs to him alone, something thus which he does not and cannot share with any other. That Heracleitus himself, on the contrary, understood this less as the sleep of an individual, including the sphere of dreams, than as a cosmos, one among numberless fleeting world-shapes, in no way corresponds to what we know of his teachings.

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