Chapter

The Atomists

C. C. W. Taylor

in Pleasure, Mind, and Soul

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226399
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191710209 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226399.003.0011
 The Atomists

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This chapter summarizes and criticizes the principal doctrines of the 5th-century atomists Leucippus and Democritus. Topics discussed are physical principles, chance and necessity, epistemology, psychology, and ethics and politics. The chapter argues against interpretations of Democritus as a sceptic in epistemology, and suggests that in his ethics he is a moderate hedonist who holds that social institutions are developed to promote individual well-being.

Keywords: atoms; void; sufficient reason; chance and necessity; convention and reality; secondary qualities; perception; scepticism; thought and experience; pleasure

Chapter.  9696 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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