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Title: Democritean atomism
Author: Makin, Stephen Andrew Roger
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1988
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The dissertation concerns the basic tenets of Democritean Atomism: the indivisibility of the atoms, their infinite variety of shape and size and their material similarity. The first chapter is a discussion of the methodology adopted throughout the dissertation. In the first part of the thesis (Chapters 2-6) the Democritean Theory is presented as a reaction to Eleatic Monism, and Aristotle's account of the origins of Atomism in de Generatione et Corruptione 1.8 and 1.2 is discussed. The indivisibility of each atom is shown to be grounded in its homogeneity or solidity. Notions of physical indivisibility, theoretical indivisibility and partlessness are argued to be exegetically unhelpful in discussion of Democritean Atomism. The argument whereby the atoms are shown to be indivisible is identified as an Ou Mallon argument, and the same form of argument is seen to generate the infinite variety of atomic shape and size. In the second part (Chapters 7-10) the extent to which the Democritean arguments are defensible is discussed. The Ou Mallon argument form is clarified, and the conditions under which an Ou Mallon argument is defensible are described. Democritus' arguments for the infinite variety of shape and size, and for the infinite number of atoms and worlds, are analysed and discussed. An account is also given of the grounds that could be offered for Democritus' view that all atoms are composed of the same kind of matter, and the philosophical issues raised there are considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Greek philosophy