ATOMISM - Deepstash


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Atomism is a Pre-Socratic school of thought from ancient Greece, established in the late 5th Century B.C. by Leucippus of Miletus (5th Century B.C.) and his more famous student, Democritus. It teaches that the hidden substance in all physical objects consists of different arrangements of atoms and void


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No writings by the movement's founder, Leucippus, have survived, and we have just a few fragments of the writings of Democritus in secondhand reports, sometimes unreliable or conflicting. Much of the best evidence is that reported by Aristotle in his criticisms of Atomism, which he regarded as an important rival current in natural philosophy.


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Of Democritus' and Epicurus' followers

Of Democritus' and Epicurus' followers

philosopher Lucretius (c. 99 - 55 B.C.) whose "On the Nature of Things" was one of the definitive works of Epicureanism, but also of Atomism. It argues that the universe and all substance is eternal, composed of atoms moving in an infinite void and nothing else, and that the human soul also consists of minute atoms that dissipate into smoke when a person dies. 


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Famous Atomist (Scientist And Philosopher

Famous Atomist (Scientist And Philosopher

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642), who himself converted to Atomism when he found that his corpuscular theory of matter and his experiments with falling bodies and inclined planes contradicted the mainstream Aristotelian theories.

The English philosophers Sir Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes were both confirmed Atomists for a time, as was Giordano Bruno (1548 - 1600) in Italy.


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The Revival

The main figures in the rebirth of Atomism were the French philosophers René Descartes and Pierre Gassendi (1592 - 1655), and the Irish philosopher and scientist Robert Boyle (1627 - 1691).


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Descartes' Atomism

Descartes’ mechanical philosophy of corpuscularism (that everything physical in the universe is made of tiny “corpuscles” of matter, and that sensations, such as taste or temperature, are caused by the shape and size of tiny pieces of matter) had much in common with Atomism, and may be considered in some sense another version of it, although for Descartes there could be no void, and all matter was constantly swirling to prevent a void as corpuscles moved through other matter. 


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Gassendi's Atomism

He formulated his atomistic conception of mechanical philosophy partly in response to Descartes, particularly opposing Descartes’ reductionist view that only purely mechanical explanations of physics are valid.


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Boyle's Atomism

Robert Boyle's form of Atomism, which came to be accepted by most English scientists, was essentially an amalgamation of the two French systems. He arrived at it after encountering problems reconciling Aristotelian physics with his chemistry experimentation.


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hilosophical Atomism led to the development of early scientific atomic theory, modern science has shown that atoms in the chemical sense are actually composed of smaller particles (electrons, neutrons and protons), and that these in turn are composed of even more fundamental particles called quarks. Although the principle can still theoretically apply, there are few, if any, modern-day atomists.


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Just doin Philosophy


A Crash Course to Atomism

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