Democritus

(NO WRITTEN BOOK)

Atomisms

Origin and Major People

 

Atomism is a natural philosophy proposing that the physical world is composed of fundamental, indivisible components known as atoms.

In the 5th century BCE, Leucippus and his pupil Democritus proposed that all matter was composed of small, indivisible particles called atoms. Nothing whatsoever is known about Leucippus except that he was the teacher of Democritus. Democritus, by contrast, was a prolific writer, who wrote over eighty known treatises, none of which have survived to the present day complete. However, a massive number of fragments and quotations of his writings have survived. These are the main source of information on his teachings about atoms. Democritus's argument for the existence of atoms hinged on the idea that it is impossible to keep dividing matter for infinity, and that matter must therefore be made up of extremely tiny particles. (Adding Wikipedia content into further reading is done)

Content

1 Time

Time dos not come into being (It always is) (Aristotle Physics, p. 187) 

Void  & Full

Leucippus and his associate Democritus say that the full and the empty are the elements,

Calling the one being and the other non-being – the full and solid being, the empty non-being (whence they say being no more is than non-being, because the solid no more is than the empty) (Aristotle Metaphysics p.6)

Democritus too; for he says the void and the full exist alike in every part, and yet one of these is being, and the other non-being.  (Aristotle Metaphysics p.35)

The void and the full are found equally in every part whatever, and yet the one of those is that which is, the other that which is not. (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 16) Democritus

Association & Dissociation

Democritus and Leucippus, postulate the “fugues”, and make “alteration” and coming-to-be result from them. They explain coming-to-be and passing-away by their “dissociation” and “association”, but “alteration” by their “grouping” and “position”. And since they thought that the “truth” lay in the appearance, and appearance are conflicting and infinitely many, they made the “figures” infinite in number. Hence-owing the change of the compound-the same thing seems different and conflicting to different people; it is “transposed” of a single constituent. For tragedy and comedy are both composed of the same lattes. (Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption, p.8)

Atoms

Everything is composed of atoms-minute, indivisible, indestructible particles moving perpetually and randomly through the void (i.e. empty space) before they combine to form the world. The atoms are all solids bits differing not in quality but in shape, and soul in a particular consist of spherically shaped atoms. Identifying thought with the soul, that is, with the motion of soul-atom. His reasoning: knowledge is the same as perception because both are identical with the motion of soul-atoms (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. XXii)

Position, Shape & Disposition

The opinion of Democritus that things are subject to three differentiations. In his system, the (material) substrate persist as a one-and-the-same, but is differentiated either by rhythm (aka shape), slant (aka position) or deployment (aka disposition) (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 236) 

And they make these the material causes of things. And as those who make the underlying

Substance one generate all other things by its modifications, supposing the rare and the dense to be the sources of the modifications, in the same way these philosophers say the differences in the elements are the causes of all other qualities. These differences, they say, are three-shape and order and position. For they say the real is differentiated only by ‘rhythm’ and ‘inter-contact’ and ‘turning’; and of this rhythm is shape, inter-contact is order, and turning is position; for A differs from N in shape, AN from NA in order, M from W in position. The question of movement – whence or how it is to belong to things – these thinkers, like the others, lazily neglected. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.6)

Democritus describes rightly; he says one thing cannot be made out of two nor two out of one; for he identifies substances with his indivisible magnitudes. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.75)

Democritus seems to think there are three kinds of difference between things; the

The underlying body, the matter, is one and the same, but they differ either in rhythm, i.e. shape, or in turning, i.e. position, or in inter-contact, i.e. order. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.80)

Infinite

Democritus and Leucippus, postulate the “fugues”, and make “alteration” and coming-to-be result from them. They explain coming-to-be and passing-away by their “dissociation” and “association”, but “alteration” by their “grouping” and “position”. And since they thought that the “truth” lay in the appearance, and appearance are conflicting and infinitely many, they made the “figures” infinite in number. Hence-owing the change of the compound-the same thing seems different and conflicting to different people; it is “transposed” of a single constituent. For tragedy and comedy are both composed of the same lattes. (Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption, p.8)

Spherical

Soul consists of spherically shaped atoms. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. XXii)

Soul, Fire & Movement

Democritus says that soul is a sort of fire or hot stuff. Because the atomic shapes are infinite, he calls the spherical ones fire and soul (like what are called motes in the air, which appear in the sunbeams that pass through the window), and ‘all-engendering see-bed’ consisting of these things was what he called the elements of all nature. And they call the spherical atoms soul, because such figures are most able to pass through everything and to move  other things because they also undergo movement themselves and because they suppose that it is soul that imparts movement to animals. That is indeed why they call breathing the mark of life (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p.7)

Images & God

The idea that our knowledge is based on the reception of images from outside us is employed in Democritus' discussion of the gods, wherein it is clear that our knowledge of the gods comes from eidôla (Atom) (Stanford Online)

Sensation Interpretation

Democritus is correct when he says that the eye is water, but incorrect when he says that seeing is mirroring (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 73)

They treat all perceptible objects as tangible. And yet, if this is the case, it is clear that each of the senses is made of touch; but that this is impossible is not hard to see at a glance. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 80)

Proper and common perceptible objects. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 215)

Who treats semblances and effluence as causes. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 124)

Democritus spoke of semblances emanating from objects that reached human beings and were interpreted as portending future goods or evils, according to Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians IX, 9

Relativity

Either there is no truth or at least to us is unclear (Aristotle Metaphysics, p. 17) 

Human

Aristotle thinks we can see only because of a medium, such as air or water. Democritus maintained that the effluence from the perceptible object would be distorted if they had to travel through a material medium, but not if they travelled through empty space. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 190)