Single Idea 16593

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

Full Idea

The vulgar think atoms lack parts and are free of all magnitude, and hence nothing other than a mathematical point, but it is something solid and hard and compact, as to leave no room for division, separation and cutting. No force in nature can divide it.

Gist of Idea

Atoms are not points, but hard indivisible things, which no force in nature can divide


Pierre Gassendi (Syntagma [1658], II.1.3.5), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 03.2

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.42

A Reaction

If you gloatingly think the atom has now been split, ask whether electrons and quarks now fit his description. Pasnau notes that though atoms are indivisible, they are not incorruptible, and could go out of existence, or be squashed.