What Is Logos, What Does It Mean?July 2, 2021
The question of what is logos is a question whose answer has been sought curiously since the concept of logos was emphasized in high school philosophy courses. It is possible to answer the question of what is Logos as follows: Logos is an expression meaning rational law. The word logos means to grasp with reason in Greek and is used for the word ‘pathos’, which means to grasp with feeling.
The concept of logos derives from the Greek root ‘leg’ meaning ‘to grasp’ and ‘to choose’. Regarding its root meaning, reason and the word based on this reason also express the meanings of law, order, knowledge and science. The Greek word legein means ‘to speak’, so Christian and Islamic theologians used the phrase ‘logos’ to mean ‘the divine word’.
The most outstanding thinker of the Ancient Greeks, who termed the term Logos, is Heraclitus. In the language of Heraclitus, logos is the ‘law of nature’; He provides the order, legality and harmony in the universe. More than that, it is a ‘law of change’, as Heraclitus clearly states.
Heraclitus proposes it as the law of universal change, of continuity, and in a sense opposes divine immutability. The meaning given by Heraclitus is different from ‘nous’ understanding, intelligence, which is Anaxagoras’ paraphrase. Nous exists before the universe as an organizer and comes into the universe from outside. The Logos is with the universe and is in the universal becoming itself.
Plato and Aristotle used logos in the sense of ‘logical basis’. According to Plato, knowledge is based on logos. Ideas are both thoughts (Yu. Logoi) and the eternal and eternal objects of these thoughts. Hence the identity between thought and object, that is, appropriate to the object of thought, since both are grounded in Ideas.
In Ancient Greek philosophy, it was the Stoics who gave this term a divine meaning, according to them, the divinity inherent in nature is koinos logos (Universal reason). Neoplatonists, especially Philon, strengthened this meaning and characterized it with the terms ‘divine word’ and ‘universal power’. The Christian theologians’ understanding of the word comes from the Stoic and neo-Platonist path. According to Christian belief, logos is the “divine word” realized in Jesus in human form.
Logos is used in the sense of “divine word” in the Christian faith.
In this way, logos, the premise of Heraclitus, which expresses the ‘universal law of change’, turns into a completely opposite meaning. Everything flows, passes, changes, says Heraclitus; There is nothing permanent in the universe. This continuous universal change is regulated by the logos, it takes place according to the law of the logos.
Medieval scholastics, especially Augustinus, uses the concept of logos to mean ‘divine light (i.e., the source of knowledge, that is, the god himself). Hegel etc. new idealists such as universal reason, universe spirit, absolute thought, concept and so on. They express God himself in such idioms.
(The thing called logos, or nous, etc. is the laws of nature. The thing that is thought to rule the universe and they call god are actually laws of nature. The laws of nature are abstract, as idealists say, independent of the universe as well as from human thought, eternal, eternal, just like god. But as the materialists say, it is neither God nor divine, it is a synthesis of idealism and materialism, it is a revolution in philosophy.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım