more from Democritus

Single Idea 6033

[catalogued under 16. Persons / F. Free Will / 6. Determinism / a. Determinism]

Full Idea

Democritus, the founder of atomism, preferred to accept that all things happened by necessity than to tear from the atomic bodies their natural motions.

Gist of Idea

Democritus said everything happens of necessity, by natural motion of atoms


report of Democritus (fragments/reports [c.431 BCE]) by M. Tullius Cicero - On Fate ('De fato') 22

Book Reference

'Hellenistic Philosophy: Intro Readings', ed/tr. Inwood,B. /Gerson,L. [Hackett 1988], p.38

A Reaction

This is in opposition to Epicurus, who said that atoms can have a 'swerve', making free will possible. It is suggested that Epicurus was the first to really grasp the problem of free will. Democritus was just stating the (to him) obvious.