green numbers give full details.     |    back to list of philosophers     |     expand these ideas

Ideas of Democritus, by Text

[Greek, 460 - 370 BCE, Born at Abdera in northern Greece. Probably taught by Leucippus.]

431BCE fragments/reports
p.13 Greeks explained regularity by intellectual design, not by laws [Frede,M]
p.16 Democritus says wealth is a burden to the virtuous mind [Seneca]
p.29 Democritus says soul consists of smooth round bodies brought together in accidental collision [Cicero]
p.38 Democritus said everything happens of necessity, by natural motion of atoms [Cicero]
p.42 Some say there is a determinate cause for every apparently spontaneous event [Aristotle]
p.53 'Full' and 'Void' secularised Parmenides's Being and Not-being [Heisenberg]
p.62 Atomists say soul has a rational part in the chest, and a diffused non-rational part [Aetius]
p.95 Movement is impossible in a void, because nothing can decide the direction of movement [Aristotle]
p.158 If only atoms are real and the rest is convention, we wouldn't bother to avoid pain [Diogenes of Oen.]
p.193 Democritus denies reality to large objects, because atomic entities can't combine to produce new ones [Benardete,JA]
p.218 Democritus said that substances could never be mixed, so atoms are the substances [Aristotle]
p.218 Two can't be a self-contained unit, because it would need to be one to do that [Aristotle]
p.219 Democritus said atoms only move by their natural motions, which are therefore necessary [Cicero]
p.229 Animals have a share of reason [Porphyry]
p.501 When atoms touch, why don't they coalesce, like water drops? [Aristotle]
A001 p.75 Nothing comes from non-existence, or passes into it [Diog. Laertius]
A006 p.93 The only distinctions are Configuration (shape), Disposition (order) and Turning (position) [Aristotle]
A006 p.93 Being does not exist more than non-being [Aristotle]
A006 p.172 Atomists say there are only three differences - in shape, arrangement and position [Aristotle]
A007 p.91 True Being only occurs when it is completely full, with atoms and no void [Aristotle]
A008 p.95 The non-existent exists as much as the existent, because it has causal powers
A009 p.182 Because appearance is infinitely varied, atomists assume infinitely many shapes of atom [Aristotle]
A010, A040 p.149 There are unlimited worlds of varying sizes, some without life or water [Hippolytus]
A019 p.101 Growth and movement would not exist if there were no void to receive them
A037 p.89 Atoms cling together, until a stronger necessity disperses them [Aristotle]
A037 p.89 Atoms are irregular, hooked, concave, convex, and many other shapes [Aristotle]
A047 p.117 There could be an atom the size of the world [Ps-Plutarch]
A048b p.175 There must be atoms, to avoid the absurdity of infinite division down to nothing [Aristotle]
A049 p.117 The basic atoms are without qualities - which only arise from encounters between atoms [Galen]
A075 p.187 Democritus said people imagined gods as the source of what awed or frightened them [Sext.Empiricus]
A101 p.191 The soul is the same as the mind [Aristotle]
A105 p.195 The directive centre is located in the whole head [Ps-Plutarch]
A109 p.197 The soul is destroyed with the body [Ps-Plutarch]
A112 p.100 Democritus says there is either no truth, or it is concealed from us [Aristotle]
A135 p.179 Sensible qualities can't be real if they appear different to different creatures [Theophrastus]
A135 p.195 Democritus says the soul is the body, and thinking is thus the mixture of the body [Theophrastus]
A167 p.189 Happiness is identifying and separating the pleasures [Stobaeus]
B002 p.139 Everything happens necessarily, and for a reason
B006 p.77 Man is separated from reality
B007 p.77 We actually know nothing, and opinions are mere flux
B007 p.176 We in fact know nothing, but we each restructure our reality with beliefs
B008 p.79 It is not possible to know what sort each thing is
B008 p.93 It is obviously impossible to understand the reality of each thing
B009 p.93 Experiences are merely convention; only atoms and the void are real
B011 p.79 Obscure knowledge belongs to the five senses, and genuine knowledge is the other type
B031 p.99 Wisdom creates a healthy passion-free soul
B117 p.104 We know nothing in reality; for truth lies in an abyss
B118 p.43 Democritus was devoted to discovering causal explanations [Eusebius]
B125 p.104 All evidence comes from senses, so they are indispensable to the mind
B155 p.188 If a cone is horizontally sliced the surfaces can't be equal, so it goes up in steps
B188 p.191 Pleasure and pain guide our choices of good and bad
B191 p.261 Contentment comes from moderation and proportion in life [Stobaeus]