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Atomic Model of Democritus, Philosophical Atomism

Atomic model of Democritus, philosophical atomism

The idea that matter is made up of separate units is very old. It appeared in many ancient cultures like Greece and India. The word "atom" comes from ancient Greek. ἄτομος, which means "indivisible", was invented by the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Leucippus and his disciple the Greek philosopher Democritus (460-370 years before Christ).

Democritus affirmed that the number of atoms is infinite, they are not created and are eternal, and the qualities of an object depend on the types of atoms that compose it.

The atomic theory of Democritus was improved and developed by the later Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BC) and the Roman Epicurean poet Lucretius (99-55 BC).

One of the characteristics of this atomic model is that Democritus defined the concept of the atom as the smallest portion into which a chemical element could be divided.

How Did the Atomic Model of Democritus Evolve?

During the High Middle Ages in Western Europe, atomism was almost forgotten. In the 12th century, he became famous again in Western Europe thanks to references to him in the recently discovered writings of Aristotle.

In 1808 Jhon Dalton developed an atomic model but this time with scientific bases. Dalton's atomic model also defined the atom as an indivisible particle in any chemical reaction.

Later, Thomson's atomic model differentiated different subatomic particles: a central nucleus ( atomic nucleus) with positive charges, and other negatively charged particles ( electrons).

Rutherford's atomic model states that electrons rotate in circular orbits around the atomic nucleus.

Finally, Bohr's atomic model introduced the concept of quantum mechanics into the structure of the atom.

What Is Philosophical Atomism?

Atomism is a natural physical and philosophical theory, according to which sensually perceived (material) things consist of chemically indivisible particles - atoms. It has its origin in ancient Greek philosophy. It mainly developed in the field of philosophy and science of the Middle Ages and Modern Times.

The term atomism is used in two senses.

  • In a broad sense, atomism is called any doctrine of atoms

  • In a strict sense, the ancient Greek philosophical school of the 5th - 4th centuries BC. C. NS. , whose teaching is the oldest historical form of atomism.

In both cases, the term atomism is also used. The term atomistic materialism is more restricted, since some adherents of the doctrine of atoms considered that the atoms were ideal.


Published: August 16, 2021
Last review: August 16, 2021