Heraclitus and the Work of Awakening

Heraclitus and the Work of Awakening

Ruiz, Nicolas Elias Leon

Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy, Stony Brook University, August (2007)


Heraclitus is regarded as one of the foundational figures of western philosophy. As such, he is typically read as some species of rational thinker: empiricist, materialist, metaphysician, dialectician, phenomenologist, etc. This dissertation argues that all of these views of Heraclitus and his work are based upon profoundly mistaken assumptions. Instead, Heraclitus is shown to be a thoroughly and consistently mystical writer whose work is organized around the recurring theme of awakening. He is thus much more akin to figures such as Buddha, Lao Tzu, and Empedocles than to Aristotle or Hegel.

This dissertation is divided into three main sections. The first chapter takes on the related issues of Heraclitus