A definition of atomism and the atomist movement

Definition[ edit ] According to Steven Schafersmangeologist and president of Texas Citizens for Sciencemetaphysical naturalism is a philosophy that maintains that; 1. Nature encompasses all that exists throughout space and time ; and 2. Nature the universe or cosmos consists only of natural elements, that is, of spatiotemporal physical substance— mass — energy.

A definition of atomism and the atomist movement

He argued that atoms just crashing into other atoms could never produce the beauty and form of the world. In Plato's Timaeus 28b—29a the character of Timeaus insisted that the cosmos was not eternal but was created, although its creator framed it after an eternal, unchanging model.

One part of that creation were the four simple bodies of fire, air, water, and A definition of atomism and the atomist movement. But Plato did not consider these corpuscles to be the most basic level of reality, for in his view they were made up of an unchanging level of reality, which was mathematical.

These simple bodies were geometric solidsthe faces of which were, in turn, made up of triangles. The square faces of the cube were each made up of four isosceles right-angled triangles and the triangular faces of the tetrahedron, octahedron, and icosahedron were each made up of six right-angled triangles.

He postulated the geometric structure of the simple bodies of the four elements as summarized in the adjacent table. The cube, with its flat base and stability, was assigned to earth; the tetrahedron was assigned to fire because its penetrating points and sharp edges made it mobile.

The points and edges of the octahedron and icosahedron were blunter and so these less mobile bodies were assigned to air and water. Since the simple bodies could be decomposed into triangles, and the triangles reassembled into atoms of different elements, Plato's model offered a plausible account of changes among the primary substances.

Aristotle considered the existence of a void, which was required by atomic theories, to violate physical principles. Change took place not by the rearrangement of atoms to make new structures, but by transformation of matter from what it was in potential to a new actuality.

A piece of wet clay, when acted upon by a potter, takes on its potential to be an actual drinking mug.

Aristotle has often been criticized for rejecting atomism, but in ancient Greece the atomic theories of Democritus remained "pure speculations, incapable of being put to any experimental test. Granted that atomism was, in the long run, to prove far more fruitful than any qualitative theory of matter, in the short run the theory that Aristotle proposed must have seemed in some respects more promising".

Unlike the atomism of Democritus, the Aristotelian "natural minimum" was not conceptualized as physically indivisible.

A definition of atomism and the atomist movement

Instead, the concept was rooted in Aristotle's hylomorphic worldview, which held that every physical thing is a compound of matter Greek hyle and an immaterial substantial form Greek morphe that imparts its essential nature and structure.

For instance, a rubber ball for a hylomorphist like Aristotle would be rubber matter structured by spherical shape form. Aristotle's intuition was that there is some smallest size beyond which matter could no longer be structured as flesh, or bone, or wood, or some other such organic substance that for Aristotle, living before the microscope, could be considered homogeneous.

For instance, if flesh were divided beyond its natural minimum, what would be left might be a large amount of the element water, and smaller amounts of the other elements. But whatever water or other elements were left, they would no longer have the "nature" of flesh: Later ancient atomism[ edit ] Epicurus — BCE studied atomism with Nausiphanes who had been a student of Democritus.

The basic nature of atomism

Although Epicurus was certain of the existence of atoms and the void, he was less sure we could adequately explain specific natural phenomena such as earthquakes, lightning, comets, or the phases of the Moon Lloyd25—6.

Few of Epicurus' writings survive and those that do reflect his interest in applying Democritus' theories to assist people in taking responsibility for themselves and for their own happiness—since he held there are no gods around that can help them.

He understood gods' role as moral ideals. His ideas are also represented in the works of his follower Lucretiuswho wrote On the Nature of Things. This scientific work in poetic form illustrates several segments of Epicurean theory on how the universe came into its current stage and it shows that the phenomena we perceive are actually composite forms.

The atoms and the void are eternal and in constant motion. Atomic collisions create objects, which are still composed of the same eternal atoms whose motion for a while is incorporated into the created entity. Human sensations and meteorological phenomena are also explained by Lucretius in terms of atomic motion.

Atomism and ethics[ edit ] Some later philosophers attributed the idea that man created gods and that gods did not create man to Democritus. For example, Sextus Empiricus noted: Some people think that we arrived at the idea of gods from the remarkable things that happen in the world.

However, Epicurus expressed a non-aggressive attitude characterized by his statement: Like the Jaina school, the Nyaya—Vaisesika atomists had elaborate theories of how atoms combine.

Word meaning has played a somewhat marginal role in early contemporary philosophy of language, which was primarily concerned with the structural features of sentences and showed less interest in the format of lexical representations and in the nature of the word-level input to compositional processes. Hellenistic Astrology. Hellenistic and Late Antiquity astrologers built their craft upon Babylonian (and to a lesser extent Egyptian) astrological traditions, and developed their theoretical and technical doctrines using a combination of Stoic, Middle Platonic and Neopythagorean thought. Astrology offered fulfillment of a desire to systematically know where an individual stands in relation to. Word meaning has played a somewhat marginal role in early contemporary philosophy of language, which was primarily concerned with the structural features of sentences and showed less interest in the format of lexical representations and in the nature of the word-level input to compositional processes.

In both Jaina and Vaisesika atomism, atoms first combine in pairs dyadsand then group into trios of pairs triadswhich are the smallest visible units of matter.

According to ancient Buddhist atomism, which probably began developing before the 4th century BCE, there are four kinds of atoms, corresponding to the standard elements.Atomism (from Greek ἄτομον, atomon, i.e.

"uncuttable, indivisible") is a natural philosophy that developed in several ancient traditions.. References to the concept of atomism and its atoms appeared in both ancient Greek and ancient Indian philosophical traditions.

A definition of atomism and the atomist movement

The ancient Greek atomists theorized that nature consists of two fundamental principles: atom and void.

Hellenistic Astrology. Hellenistic and Late Antiquity astrologers built their craft upon Babylonian (and to a lesser extent Egyptian) astrological traditions, and developed their theoretical and technical doctrines using a combination of Stoic, Middle Platonic and Neopythagorean thought.

Astrology offered fulfillment of a desire to systematically know where an individual stands in relation to. 1. The Greek Notion of Soul. The Homeric poems, with which most ancient writers can safely be assumed to be intimately familiar, use the word ‘soul’ in two distinguishable, probably related, ways.

1. The Greek Notion of Soul. The Homeric poems, with which most ancient writers can safely be assumed to be intimately familiar, use the word ‘soul’ in two distinguishable, probably related, ways.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

Rules for History of Philosophy A while ago I had the idea to suggest some guidelines encapsulating what I see as good practice in studying the history of philosophy. With any luck, these rules are exemplified, not routinely violated, by the podcast itself.

These are not really “rules” of course, only suggestions of best practice based on my own limited experience. Western philosophy - Contemporary philosophy: Despite the tradition of philosophical professionalism established during the Enlightenment by Wolff and Kant, philosophy in the 19th century was still created largely outside the universities.

Comte, Mill, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Schopenhauer were not professors, and only the German idealist school was rooted in academic life.

Free Will in Antiquity