Preschool Philosophy: Motion Is Impossible

This month’s video focuses on two philosophers with radically different views on motion: Heraclitus and Zeno of Elea. Heraclitus believed that everything was in constant motion, but Zeno disagreed, claiming that all motion was just an illusion.

Heraclitus connected his idea of constant motion and change with his thoughts about how the Universe functions. He claimed that the natural world is a cycle of matter being changed into water, earth, and fire. Furthermore, Heraclitus related his idea on change with human souls and morality. He said that a soul turning into water is death, and that souls are dampened by drunkenness and dried by virtue. In this way, he encompassed elements of his philosophy of change into various other aspects of his philosophical outlook.

Zeno of Elea was a student of Parmenides (another prominent philosopher who dealt with motion), and he thought of over 40 paradoxes to disprove motion. Although his paradoxes have mostly been solved after his time by the mathematics of Calculus, who showed that what one perceives is not the same as how things actually are, which is a reoccurring theme throughout the history of philosophy.

If you want to learn more about the philosophy of motion, you can go to this Wikipedia page, Zeno’s Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy page, or Heraclitus’ Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy page.

The above video was created using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, and Audacity; it also features the song “Black Sands” by Bonobo.