The Eastern philosophy of the yin yang states that the universe is composed of opposites, and that things move from yin to yang and vice-versa. The views of natural philosophers such as Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Empedocles relates in distinctive ways from the Yin and Yang Philosophy. Heraclitus believed that all things are in a stage of change. Parmenides believed that change could never occur. Empedocles believed that things do change, but one thing can not become another. The question is to find out how does the natural philosophers relate to the philosophy of the yin yang?
The theories that Heraclitus came up with are that all things are in a position of change. Heraclitus is saying that something will never remain exactly how it is, but change over time. His famous quote “One cannot step twice into the same river twice, for the water into which you first step has flowed on” (Sproule, “Philosophy in Action” 2003). That statement connects to the philosophy of the yin yang because the river is in continual state of change. The water that was stepped on has moved away. Heraclitus’ theories and the philosophy of the yin yang do agree with one another.
One theory that differs from the yin yang theory is Parmenides. His theory was that he believed change could never occur. His reasoning was that everything, which exists, has always been there. The one flaw in his theory, is he acknowledged that change appears to occur (Sproule, “Philosophy in Action” 2003). Parmenides’ philosophy differs from the yin yang philosophy in ways that contrary it. Parmenides’ theory was that change could never occur, while the yin yang philosophy is that the universe is in continual state of change.
The theories of Empedocles is that things do change, but one thing cannot become another. He said the reason for change was love and strife. Love would keep things together and strife split them apart. Empedocles’ theory also incorporate that the Earth, fire, water, and air are the essential elements of all things. The one thing that Empedocles has in common with the yin yang is the idea how things change over time (Sproule, “Philosophy in Action” 2003).
In relationship to the yin yang theory, is that Empedocles had similar proposal on how things change. As well as different proposal about the Earth, wind, fire, and air being the essential elements of all things.
In conclusion, the natural philosophers have comparison and differences with the Eastern philosophy of the yin yang. Some philosopher argued that change cannot happen, but were soon to comprehend that change does appear to occur. Natural philosophers that had similar theories to the yin yang were Heraclitus, touching upon the idea that things do change. The natural philosopher that was completely different was Parmenides’ theory that change cannot occur. All of those natural philosophers interrelated to the Eastern philosophy of the yin yang.