Heraclitus was obviously no exception, indeed he probably expressed the universality of change more clearly than his predecessors; but for him it was the obverse idea of the measure inhering in change, the stability that presists through it, that was of vital importance.(The Presocratic Philosophers, by G.Kirk)

"Obverse idea" refers to the "measure","logos", which is the unchangeable in the changable things. So it seems that "obverse" is presumed by the author to mean "reverse": unchangable vs change.

But with second thought, I think it is not so. The two theory both are valid for Heraclitus, therefore they are not opposing, but complementing each other.

I think this sort of contrastive relation is perfectly expressed by "obverse", I cannot find another word to replace it. But by using Google N-gram viewer, I find that "obverse" is extremely rarely used. So does anyone have other suggested alternatives?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Janus Bahs Jacquet, MrHen, FumbleFingers, TrevorD, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Oct 6 '13 at 3:38

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  • The title doesnt reflect what you are asking. – Noah Oct 5 '13 at 8:49
  • This question seems (based on your comment to user49727’s answer below) to be more about the philosophical appropriateness and implications of the word ‘obverse’, rather than its use in normal English. I think the question would be a better fit for the Philosophy SE site than here. The most common meaning for ‘obverse’ in normal English is to refer to the ‘main’ side of a coin or medal. (And for what it’s worth, I, being philosophically illiterate, understand what neither ‘obverse’ nor ‘measure’ is supposed to mean in this context.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 5 '13 at 14:59

Reverse is not exactly a synonym of obverse - in fact in many senses it is a direct antonym. I think the best replacement is complementary or reciprocal in the context described.

  • Right at this point, the author has not justified his own view, he is still borrowing the term from commonsense view about Heraclitus. This means that at this stage, he share the view that Heraclitus' theories are to a certain degree opposing each other.Therefore I do not agree on your suggestion about using "complementary" or "reciprocal". – benlogos Oct 5 '13 at 15:33
  • OP's question is pretty straightforward really. He quite rightly questions the aptness of the use of the word - and the author's diction. He is not, and does not want us to engage in a discussion as to the merits of his or the author's respective philosophic positions. – user49727 Oct 5 '13 at 15:53

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