Philosophy can be incredibly dry at times, giving it a bad name. With all of its jargon, complex theories, and intricate history, philosophy is strictly scholarly, intimidating intellectuals, scaring away laypeople, and attracting very little attention, as most people prefer to stay away from the dense topic; what people tend to overlook, though, is that philosophy is not always boring, for philosophy is filled with humorous yet interesting anecdotes concerning famous philosophers. So, without further ado, I present part three of Philosophy Fun Facts, which will be a short series of quirky but educational fun facts about philosophers and philosophy.
The Death of Heraclitus
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535-475 BCE) was known for his often-quoted utterance, “You could not step twice into the same river.” He claimed the world was in a constant state of change, or flux, his quote enforcing the idea of impermanence, as new water flows, replacing old water. After acquiring the inflammatory disease dropsy, it is said, Heraclitus covered himself in cow poop in an effort to treat his body; some say it was this itself, not the dropsy, that led to his death.
The Death of Empedocles
Said to be the creator of the four elements, Empedocles (495-430 BCE) was revered for his supposed ability to perform miracles. Legends tell of the great orator healing wounds, curing diseases, and controlling weather. Some went as far as to say the philosopher was divine, having been sent from the Empyrean to deliver his wisdom to the people. In a tragic turn of events, Empedocles, in an effort to prove his divinity, threw himself into Mount Etna. While it is not certain whether this happened, it can be concluded that Empedocles was not a god after all.
For further reading:
501 Things You Should Have Learned About Philosophy by Alison Rattle (2012)
1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think by Robert Arp (2013)
The Essentials of Philosophy by James Mannion (2006)
The Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche (1888)
The Dream of Reason by Anthony Gottlieb (2000)
History of Philosophy by Julian Marias (1967)