more from Lucretius

Single Idea 5708

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / g. Atomism]

Full Idea

When atoms are travelling straight down through empty space by their own weight, at quite indeterminate times and places they swerve ever so little from their course.

Gist of Idea

In downward motion, atoms occasionally swerve slightly for no reason


Lucretius (On the Nature of the Universe [c.60 BCE], II.217)

Book Reference

Lucretius: 'On the Nature of the Universe', ed/tr. Latham,Ronald [Penguin 1951], p.66

A Reaction

Never a popular theory because it seems to breach the Principle of Sufficient Reason (Ideas 306 + 3646). This seems to be the beginning of a strong need for the concept of free will, and an underlying explanation. Most thinkers put mind outside nature.

Related Ideas

Idea 306 Nothing can come to be without a cause [Plato]

Idea 3646 There is always a reason why things are thus rather than otherwise [Leibniz]