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Ideas of Democritus, by Text

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

431BCE works (fragments)
p.16 Democritus says wealth is a burden to the virtuous mind
p.29 Democritus says soul consists of smooth round bodies brought together in accidental collision
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.229 Animals have a share of reason
p.501 When atoms touch, why don't they coalesce, like water drops?
A001 p.75 Nothing comes from non-existence, or passes into it
A006 p.93 Being does not exist more than non-being
A006 p.93 The only distinctions are Configuration (shape), Disposition (order) and Turning (position)
A006 p.172 Atomists say there are only three differences - in shape, arrangement and position
A007 p.91 True Being only occurs when it is completely full, with atoms and no void
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
A010, A040 p.149 There are unlimited worlds of varying sizes, some without life or water
A019 p.101 Growth and movement would not exist if there were no void to receive them
A037 p.89 Atoms are irregular, hooked, concave, convex, and many other shapes
A037 p.89 Atoms cling together, until a stronger necessity disperses them
A047 p.117 There could be an atom the size of the world
A048b p.175 There must be atoms, to avoid the absurdity of infinite division down to nothing
A049 p.117 The basic atoms are without qualities - which only arise from encounters between atoms
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
A101 p.191 The soul is the same as the mind
A105 p.195 The directive centre is located in the whole head
A109 p.197 The soul is destroyed with the body
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
A135 p.195 Democritus says the soul is the body, and thinking is thus the mixture of the body
A167 p.189 Happiness is identifying and separating the pleasures
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
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
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