Atomism of Democritus and the Elea SchoolJune 26, 2021
Democritus (460 – 371 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher.
With a soulless and moving universe view; Democritus has an understanding that only blind and soulless, but mobile forces are dominant in the universe. These soulless and mobile but blind forces are themselves repressive forces formed by the collision of objects. Democritus explains all the events in the universe with the collision of objects and the pressure they put on each other as a result of this collision. Against these blind, soulless and mobile forces, there are forces that are directed towards a certain purpose, that act and act according to a certain plan. These forces are soulless, mobile and valid necessity. Democritus has a very famous saying: Two things must be removed from this universe: purpose and chance. There is neither purpose nor coincidence in the universe, only a soulless and mobile necessity. Democritus, with these “soulless and mobile” concepts, brought an extremely important principle to the explanations of nature. According to the traditions and also Aristotle, Democritus took lessons from a philosopher named Leucippus. Leucippos was from Miletus and came to Elea at a very young age. We do not know their accuracy. However, we know this for certain: Leucippus and his student Democritus were under the influence of the Miletus School on the one hand and the Elea School on the other. Leucippos came to Abdera in Thrace and established his own school in this city. Anaxagoras also came to Athens and spent most of his life here. Thus, the philosophy that started on the western shores of Anatolia passed first to southern Italy and then to Greece.
Democritus was born in the city of Abdera, where Leucippus settled and founded his own school, and grew up in this school. Even in the First Age, it was a rule not to separate the works and thoughts of these two philosophers. However, there is no doubt that Democritus eclipsed his teacher Leucippus in fame. Only some fragments of the works of Democritus have reached us. However, it is known that he was a typical traveling scientist and made many trips. It is believed that he went on these trips to study plants, animals and human life in foreign countries. During one of these trips, Democritus also stopped by Athens. He was pleased that no one knew him in Athens.
Anaxagoras was also a typical scholar, but Democritus is ahead of him in this regard. It is believed that these two scholars prepared Aristotle, the greatest scholar of the First Age.
Leucippus and Democritus are the first thinkers who put forward a theory, the atomic theory, which has preserved its importance until today and is still considered important again. Although Empedocles and Anaxagoras also considered the universe to be composed of some latest particles. Anaxagoras even stated that these particles are infinitely small. However, it is Democritus, the philosopher who gave these invisible, infinitely small elements the “atom” feature in the modern sense. According to him, atoms, that is, the last elements of objects, which can no longer be divided, have certain properties: First of all, they are solid. That is to say, it has an impenetrable form. Atoms have no color or sound. They are neither hot nor cold. Because all these are sensuous things. These are things that occur when atoms act on our sensations. For example, color is only for a seeing eye, and sound is only for a hearing ear. These elements depend on the sense organs. However, atoms with a certain shape, size and hardness exist on their own. They have no beginning or end. Bani have been there since the beginning. They have neither existed nor will they perish. They are immutable and move only in empty space. Thus, Democritus added an element of “empty space” to his explanation of nature.
Democritus is assumed to have been born when Anaxagoras arrived in Athens in 462. Democritus is the philosopher of the next generation according to Anaxagoras. Democritus was influenced by some philosophers. Despite this, we will talk about him first, because his thoughts fall into the class of philosophers called “Physicists”. Democritus disagrees with Anaxagoras in some respects. For example, Anaxagoras believes that the universe was created by a God who acts according to a plan and is active. According to Dernokritos, everything in the universe occurs spontaneously out of blind necessity. Pressure and impact (coup) is the only force that creates everything in the universe. There is neither purpose nor coincidence in the universe. The universe is governed by a spontaneous and blind necessity that is the same everywhere. The view that there is a definite necessity in the universe and that the cause-effect relationship dominates the events was clearly put forward by Democritus for the first time.
We also clearly know that Democritus was also under the influence of the Eleans.
Democritus and his teacher Leucippus were the first thinkers to put forward the atomic theory. According to them, the object consists of infinitely small particles that are no longer indivisible. Just as every word in a language consists of a combination of letters,