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KD McMahon


Another effect of the movement in the void is that atoms which are alike in size and shape are brought together as a sieve brings together the grains of millet, wheat, and barley.  In this way are formed the four “elements”– earth, air, fire and water.

Thus innumerable worlds arise from the collisions among the infinite atoms moving in the void.

•  Leucippus meant to ascribe the motion of the atoms to chance: to him the eternal motion and the continuation of motion required no explanation.  His cosmology needed no external Power (Love-Strife/Nous); the Atomists were content and sought no “First Unmoved Mover.”

•  Democritus developed a theory to explain how the senses worked.  Objects shed images made of atoms that pass over to and enter the senses.  These images then impinge upon the soul which itself is made of atoms.

Although the object of are senses are objective (made of atoms) our perception of them is purely subjective.  “By the senses we in truth know nothing sure, but only something that changes according to the disposition of the body and of the things that enter into it or resist it.”

According to this theory there would be no difference between sense and thought since both are ultimately composed of atoms.

•  Democritus’ ethical system is based on the idea of happiness and are inconsistent with his ontological atomist ideas.

“The best thing for a man is to pass his life so as to have as much joy and as little trouble as may be.”

“The good and the true are the same for all men, but the pleasant is different for different people.”

Philosophy:  Atomist School2KD McMahon

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