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Could someone please clarify the exact meaning of claims to announce in the paragraph below.

A Greek philosopher of the late 6th century BCE, Heraclitus criticizes his predecessors and contemporaries for their failure to see the unity in experience. He claims to announce an everlasting Word (Logos) according to which all things are one, in some sense.

Does it mean he claims that he is the one who has invented this word?

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Not so much that word, but that belief system (I think). – J.R. May 6 '14 at 17:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, announcing a word would imply that the word was new and was being introduced with the statement. However, if one were to announce an 'everlasting' word, it would remain to be seen whether the word would indeed be 'everlasting' when introduced.

Therefore, the author likely used the phrase

He claims to announce an everlasting word...

because it is, even now, still unknown if the word is 'everlasting.'

Actually, it can never be verified, so one might always say 'claims to announce' in this context unless the word is repurposed at some future time to mean something else entirely. An author might then say

He erroneously claims to announce an everlasting word...


He erroneously announces an everlasting word...

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Thank you :) It didn't even occur to me to interpret it from the author's POV. – GATA May 6 '14 at 17:22

Word is the literal translation of Greek logos; but the meaning of the Greek term is enormously greater than that of the English term. Depending on context it may mean speech, language, discourse, thought, opinion, reasoning, principle, and most exaltedly the Mind and Generative Capacity of God. (That's why the author capitalizes both Word and Logos.) Most Western readers will be reminded of the opening sentence of the Greek Book of John in the Christian Bible, which employs the same term:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

So when Heraclitus is said to have claimed to announce a new Logos, we are to understand that he claimed to have discerned and to be revealing a new understanding of the rational divine principle which gives shape and meaning to the universe.

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The implication of "he claims to announce" is that this is simply a report of what Heraclitus said, and that the writer does not necessarily agree.

(In fact, since "he announced" wouldn't necessarily imply agreement with the announcement, this qualification suggests that the writer thinks Heraclitus was wrong.)

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