from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- Democritus Known as "the Laughing Philosopher.” 460?-370? B.C. Greek philosopher who developed one of the first atomist theories of the universe and espoused the doctrine that pleasure, along with self-control, is the goal of human life.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- proper n. A Greek philosopher (c.460-c.370 BC). The originator of the atomic theory together with his teacher Leucippus.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. Greek philosopher who developed an atomistic theory of matter (460-370 BC)
Most suggestive of all is the quotation from Thrasyllus preserved by Diogenes Laertius (Diogenes Laertius IX 38), in which Thrasyllus calls Democritus a zealous follower of the Pythagoreans and asserts that Democritus drew all his philosophy from Pythagoras and would have been thought to have been his pupil, if chronology did not prevent it.
By contrast, atomists such as Democritus took those determinate particular objects they called ˜atoms™ to be the substance of the universe.
Aristotle accused mechanists such as Democritus and
Atomists such as Democritus and Lucretius argued that all of nature is the result of random bumps and movements of atoms falling in a plenum.
Democritus famously proposed that all matter consists of microscopic particles, called 'atoms', which are not themselves composed of other particles.
And so, contra your assertion that there is intentionality inherent in everything, according to my view of reality intentionality is an emergent property of a universe in which (to quote Democritus of Abdera once again) "all things are the fruit of chance and necessity" and there is no empirically detectable intentionality in anything, except for those active entities which have encoded programs that guide their behavior.
He crossed the river Nestos just west of the Greek city of Abdera, once home to the philosopher Democritus, who had first proposed that all matter was composed of indestructible particles called atoms.
"Truth," said Democritus, "is at the bottom of the abyss; and the abyss is bottomless."
His reading went back to the Greek philosophers Democritus and Epicurus, but he got his Darwinism primarily by way of the English science and philosophy popularizer Hugh Elliot and from Darwin's foremost German disciple, Ernst Haeckel.
When exporting our Westminster version of democracy in which we elect members of the government to act on our behalf and then pay members of the loyal opposition to frustrate everything they do, I would welcome some reference to Democritus, the laughing philosopher who derided our ideals.
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