Philosophy Index

Democritus

Democritus (460–370 BCE) was a pre-socratic philosopher of ancient Greece, best known for his philosophy of atomism.

Atomism is the view that all things are made of fundamental indivisible elements, known as atoms. Democritus was given this view by Leucippus, of whom he was a student. Democritus can be credited with greatly expanding atomism and creating a metaphysical view that closely resembles modern particle physics — at least, compared to his contemporaries.

Unlike Leucippus, Democritus' view of atomism was a deterministic one — that is, he believed that atomic movements followed strict laws, and given the nature of those interactions, events were essentially fated to happen.

Democritus is generally considered to be pre-socratic, and is described as such by Aristotle, although he was actually a contemporary of Socrates and may even have met him. Plato never mentions Democritus in his dialogues.

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Name: Δημóκριος (Democritus)
Born: 460 BCE
Died: 370 BCE