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theme Atomism DemocritusandEpicurusPhilosophy 116October 17 1996 In the Atomists we see pluralism taken as far as it could possibly goWe see Democritus and Epicurus divide all the world as well as the universe into twocategories atoms and empty space Everything else is merely thought to exist The atomsare eternal infinite in size and number and they are moving through the empty spaceThere is no motion without empty space Both Democritus and Epicurus agreed that motionwas impossible in a plenum but it is here that their theories diverge In the cause ofthe motion we begin to see a variety of opinions Both Democritus and Epicurus agreed that the qualitative world ofsense perception arises from the motion of qualitatively neutral atoms They believe thatthe immense qualitative variety results from the jostling of atomsas theycollide and bounce apart and so constantly form new groupings Jones 84 Theybelieve it to be a mechanical process occurring completely by chance Furthermorealthough new groupings are constantly being formed only the few that can survive areconsidered the right combinations These are the combinations we recognizethrough our senses as being real although they are not However the way inwhich this complex motion begins is a source of controversy and disagreement amongst theAtomists Democritus assumes that the atoms motion is perpetual The atoms arenever at rest He presumes that their nature is to move thereby avoiding theproblem of explaining the origin of the complex motion of atoms by simply affirming thatit is in their nature to move so Jones 85 He believes that atoms are born alongwith the whole universe in a vortex The vortex is not an outside influence but ratherthe motion of the atoms themselves He never accounts for the initiation of this motionHe simply states that it is an inherent quality of the atoms themselves Epicurus on the other hand wanted to find a reasoning behind theinitial movement of the atoms to find the cause of the initial collisions which start thecreation
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