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Unformatted text preview: C LASSICS 36: L ECTURE T WENTY AN UNPLANNED WORLD : L UCRETIUS , THE WAY THINGS ARE , BOOKS 5-6 1. World’s end 1.1 ‘World’ = the cosmos, i.e. our earth and the system of planets and stars in which it has its place. Infinity of atoms implies there are innumerable other such systems, p. 82; distinguish from the universe (i.e. the sum-total of things), which has no beginning or end in time and no spatial limits. 1.2 Atoms and void are eternal and indestructible, former because impenetrable, latter because so utterly penetrable as to be untouchable, p.170. Worlds made up of atoms and void had a beginning and will come to an end, just as all parts of these worlds do, p.166. The whole is no different from its parts . 1.3 World will have an end in time but does not have an ‘end’ in the sense of goal (Aristotle’s final cause, ‘that for the sake of which’). World came into being through chance combination of atoms; not improbable, given infinite time and infinite atoms (p.172). But because atoms have fixed shapes and sizes, things don’t fall out just anyhow; complex elements formed from their combinations tend towards an orderly spatial arrangement (heavier at the bottom, etc.), p.173-4. But no order of the whole distinct from that of the elements. 1.4 Still less is the cosmos a living being (as Plato and the Stoics believed). Same argument that showed human mind can only dwell in a human body (p.109) shows that intelligence does not exist in the material elements of the cosmos, p.162-3. 2. Insouciant gods 2.1 Gods are not ‘souciant’: do not care about us or about the world, whether to help or to harm us and it. Incompatible with their joyous serenity that they should trouble themselves with managing the cosmos, p.203-4. themselves with managing the cosmos, p....
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- Spring '08
- l., Lecture Twenty Abstract