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C LASSICS 36: L ECTURE E IGHTEEN ATOMS IN THE VOID : L UCRETIUS , THE WAY THINGS ARE , BOOKS 1-2 1. Basic atomistic principles of nature (compare Epicurus, Letter to Herodotus §§38-45, 54-57, 60-62, 68-71, 76-78) 1.1 Nothing comes from nothing. Evidence is perceived orderliness of the world (p.24, Humphries translation). Hence L. adds ‘from nothing by the gods’ will’, implying a capricious will. 1.2 Nothing is destroyed into nothing (p.26). Everything would have vanished by now, if so. 1.3 The universe (as opposed to the earth on which we live, see §1.7) always has been and always will be the way it is now; laws of nature are invariant (p. 60). Nowhere for matter to go and leave altered universe behind; no outside source for change. 1.4 All that exists are bodies (material particles) and void (Epicurean materialism) (p.32). Bodies evinced by direct sense-perception; void evinced by indirect argument from sense-perception: bodies could not move otherwise. 1.5 Ultimate bodies are atoms, indivisible and invisible; visible bodies are compounds of atoms. (Theory originated by Democritus, Gk. philosopher of 5C B.C.) Argument: All visible bodies change and are destroyed, so that if nothing remained through the change, the principle of §1.2 would be violated (p.28-9, 34-8). 1.6 (a) Infinite number of atoms, of an unimaginable but not infinite variety of shapes, move eternally and continuously through infinite void (p.47-51, 54-8, 61-2, 65-7); (b) Atoms differ only in shape, weight, and size; all other qualities belong to compounds (p.72-80); (c) Compounds created by collision of atoms; collision comes about by virtue of atomic 'swerve' (p.58). Objection (by the Stoics): swerve violates principle that nothing comes from nothing? 1.7
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