Chapter

The Atomists

David Sedley

in Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253643
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934368 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520253643.003.0005
The Atomists

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Atomism was to become an important weapon against divine creation in the hands of Democritus' eventual heir, Epicurus. Epicurus' eyes have the incalculable merit of freeing from those consequences by permitting readers to account for the world and its contents as the products of mere accident, freed from the specter of divine control to recognize the truth of atomism. Greek atomism delights atoms and void alone as the primary realities, and relegates intelligence to a secondary status: intelligence, along with color, flavor, and innumerable other attributes, is among the properties that supervene on complex structures of atoms and void. The atoms themselves are inanimate particles and the void of their negative counterpart, possessing only material properties such as size, shape, location, and density. Once atoms have formed a world and its contents, intelligent organisms may well be generated out of these.

Keywords: atomism; Epicurus; Democritus; atoms; intelligence

Chapter.  15383 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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