The Atomists: Leucippus and Democritus: Fragments (Phoenix Presocractic Series)
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It may not be too much to say that all the work Western philosophers have done over the past two thousand years was begun by the Pre-Socratics. The Phoenix Pre-Socratic series has been instrumental in recovering Pre-Socratic texts.
As with earlier works in this important series, this volume aims to make an important portion of Pre-Socratic writings accessible to all those interested in ancient philosophy and the first phase of European natural science. We now have, for the first time in English a translation of the bulk of texts concerning the atomists, with commentary.
The work contains a new presentation of the evidence for the thought of Leucippus and Democritus, based on the original sources. It includes a Greek text of the fragments, in a new selection, with facing English translation. The testimonia (all newly translated) are presented in a new selection, designed to clarify the structure of the atomists thought and to present their texts in their argumentative context as far as possible. The notes and commentary aim to reflect the complexity and diversity of their thought, with particular emphasis on their metaphysical foundations, psychology, epistemology and ethics. Sections on biology, astronomy and theology are also included. Complete indexes, concordances and bibliography are included.
DEMOCRITUS FRAGMENTS: TEXT LEUCIPPUS LI. STOBAEUS I.4.7c [= AETIUS 1.25.4] DEMOCRITUS LIFE Dl. DIOGENES LAERTIUS IX.36 GENERAL D2. DIONYSIUS ap. EUSEBIUS P£ XIV.27.4 D3. PLUTARCH Mor. 655d, 722d, 1129e. FRAGMENTS: TRANSLATION LEUCIPPUS LI. From On Mind Nothing happens in vain, but everything from reason and by necessity.1 STOBAEUS I.4.7c [= AETIUS 1.25.4]. Context in 74d. DEMOCRITUS LIFE Dl. For I came to Athens and no one knew me. DIOGENES LAERTIUS IX.36. Context in 6 (36). Also in
[sc. of atoms] and of inclusion of void. That is why iron is harder and lead heavier; for iron is irregularly constituted, with large empty spaces in many places, but some areas densely packed, and absolutely it has more void. But lead, though containing less void, is regularly arranged throughout; consequently it is heavier but softer than iron. (63) That is his account of heavy and light and hard and soft. None of the other sensible qualities has any nature of its own, but all are states of the
sensation of cold. Thought 131. a. CICERO Ad Familiares XV..16.1 Somehow when I write anything to you it seems almost as if you were with me, and not just 'in imaginative representations/ in the words of your new friends who think that their 'intellectual representations' are stirred up by Catius' spectres - for, don't forget, the Epicurean Catius from Insubria, who died recently, called 'spectres' what the master from Gargettus [i.e., Epicurus] and Democritus before him called eidola - now
things reduces to the formation and dissolution of aggregates of those basic things, i.e., to their joining and separation (42a; 44a). But while they thus exemplify a standard response to the Eleatic rejection of genesis, we ought to ask why they did. Parmenides disallowed 'What is not' as a possible object of thought; hence what is could not have come into being from nothing or from non-being, both of which descriptions violate the proscription on thinking of what is not. Further, that
Aristotle's evidence) that they believed that there were very many. Also from Aristotle we may take it that all the atoms in our world are so small as to be imperceptible. Our evidence leaves room for doubt whether they believed (i) that there are infinitely many gradations of atomic size, (ii) that 7 Bicknell 25 makes the interesting suggestion that a cosmos-sized atom need not be (by our standards) large. If there is an infinite range of atomic sizes, then some of the infinitely many worlds