Democritus’s Approach to the Philosophy of BeingJune 26, 2021
The most important assumption of Democritus is that a spontaneous necessity is valid in nature. Just like Anaxagoras, he asks the question about the formation of the universe: How did an order, a cosmos, come into being out of the chaos and chaos in the beginning? On another issue, Democritus shares the same view with Anaxagoras: Everything is made of parts of the same kind, he accepts that the sun consists of fire and water atoms.
Anaxagoras was saying that the ordering of the universe does not happen by itself, it must be the force that provides order. According to Democritus, it is possible for this order to occur spontaneously. While defending this thesis, Democritus gives the following example: If I want to separate the wheat from the chaff while threshing, I throw it into the air. Thus, because they are heavy, wheat grains are separated, and because they are light, straw grains are separated. Here, says Democritus, everything in the universe happens according to such a self-evident law. Heavy atoms fall down, lighter ones rise up. Or the waves on the seashore throw some stones onto the shore. At this time, when attention is paid, it is seen that stones of the same kind, for example flat stones, are always piled together. This incident also shows that things of the same kind always gather in one place by themselves. Therefore, there is no need to defend the necessity of a power that regulates the universe. Spontaneous laws allow the same things to come together spontaneously.
Democritus argues that organic life also came into existence spontaneously. There are atoms in living things that are spherical and very fast. It is these atoms that provide life and make up the soul. When these atoms disperse and leave the body, death occurs. As it can be understood from all these explanations, Democritus is a much more conscious materialist than all the philosophers mentioned so far.