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Ideas of Democritus, by Text

[Greek, c.471 - 410 BCE, Born at Abdera in northern Greece. Probably taught by Leucippus.]

431BCE Arguments (frags)
B009 p.93 Experiences are merely convention; only atoms and the void are real
431BCE On Forms (frags)
B007 p.176 We in fact know nothing, but we each restructure our reality with beliefs
B008 p.93 It is obviously impossible to understand the reality of each thing
431BCE works (fragments)
p.16 Democritus says wealth is a burden to the virtuous mind
p.38 Democritus said everything happens of necessity, by natural motion of atoms
p.42 Some say there is a determinate cause for every apparently spontaneous event
p.53 'Full' and 'Void' secularised Parmenides's Being and Not-being
p.62 Atomists say soul has a rational part in the chest, and a diffused non-rational part
p.95 Movement is impossible in a void, because nothing can decide the direction of movement
p.193 Democritus denies reality to large objects, because atomic entities can't combine to produce new ones
p.218 Democritus said that substances could never be mixed, so atoms are the substances
p.218 One substance cannot be composed from two, nor two from one
p.501 When atoms touch, why don't they coalesce, like water drops?
A006 p.172 Atomists say there are only three differences - in shape, arrangement and position
A009 p.182 Because appearance is infinitely varied, atomists assume infinitely many shapes of atom
A048b p.175 There must be atoms, to avoid the absurdity of infinite division down to nothing
A071 p.175 Democritus (unlike Plato alone) thinks that time must have been created
A075 p.187 Democritus said people imagined gods as the source of what awed or frightened them
A112 p.100 Democritus says there is either no truth, or it is concealed from us
A135 p.179 Sensible qualities can't be real if they appear different to different creatures
A167 p.189 Happiness is identifying and separating the pleasures
B031 p.99 Wisdom creates a healthy passion-free soul
B041 p.99 Be virtuous from duty, not from fear
B042 p.99 It is a great thing, when one is in adversity, to think of duty
B043 p.99 Repentance of shameful deeds is salvation
B045 p.99 The wrongdoer is more unfortunate than the person wronged
B051 p.100 Reason is a more powerful persuader than gold
B057 p.100 Good breeding in men means having a good character
B062 p.100 Virtue doesn't just avoid evil, but also doesn't desire it
B069 p.101 Good and true are the same for everyone, but pleasures differ
B070 p.101 Immoderate desire is the mark of a child, not an adult
B073 p.101 Virtuous love consists of decorous desire for the beautiful
B074 p.101 Only accept beneficial pleasures
B098 p.102 It is better to have one intelligent friend than many unintelligent
B105 p.103 Beauty is merely animal without intelligence
B117 p.104 We know nothing in reality; for truth lies in an abyss
B118 p.104 I would rather discover one cause than gain the kingdom of Persia
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
B160 p.106 A bad life is just a drawn-out death
B188 p.191 Pleasure and pain guide our choices of good and bad
B190 p.109 One must avoid even speaking of evil deeds
B194 p.110 The great pleasures come from the contemplation of noble works
B207 p.111 We should only choose pleasures which are concerned with the beautiful
B211 p.111 Moderation brings more pleasures, and so increases pleasure
B214 p.111 It is as brave to master pleasure as to overcome the enemy
B219 p.191 The endless desire for money is a crueller slavery than poverty
B242 p.113 Virtue comes more from practice than from nature
B244 p.113 Behave well when alone, and feel shame in you own eyes
B251 p.191 It is better to be poor in a democracy than be rich without freedom
B284 p.117 Small appetite makes poverty equal to wealth
420BCE Fragments of Democritus
p.29 Democritus says soul consists of smooth round bodies brought together in accidental collision