MOVING INTO A new house has made me think about an old (perhaps the oldest?) philosophical debate. Long ago, in the Greek cities of Miletus and Ephesus, on the shores of what is now western Turkey, two thinkers defined the poles round which Western philosophy would dance for millennia to come. In the 6th century BCE Thales of Miletus held that there was a single and undying substance behind all the changes we see in the material world: he identified this substance with water. A century later Heraclitus of Ephesus, a philosopher who wrote in pregnant aphorisms which even his contemporaries found ...


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