Single Idea 14034

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

Full Idea

For each type of shape there is an unlimited number of similar atoms, but with respect to the differences they are not simply unlimited but ungraspable.

Gist of Idea

There exists an infinity of each shape of atom, but the number of shapes is beyond our knowledge


Epicurus (Letter to Herodotus [c.293 BCE], 42)

Book Reference

Epicurus: 'The Epicurus Reader', ed/tr. Inwood,B. /Gerson,L. [Hackett 1994], p.7

A Reaction

Epicurus's view of the nature of atoms rests on his empiricism, so while he can reason from experience to how they must be, he admits (impressively) his ignorance of the full facts. He has arguments for the unlimited number.

Related Idea

Idea 14033 Bodies are unlimited as well as void, since the two necessarily go together [Epicurus]