Home Theorists Theorists of the World Democritus

Democritus

Biography and Works:Democritus
Democritus (Greek: Dēmokritos, "chosen of the people") (ca. 460 BCE – ca. 370 BCE) was an Ancient Greek philosopher born in Abdera, Thrace, Greece. He was an influential pre-Socratic philosopher and pupil of Leucippus, who formulated an atomic theory for the cosmos.


His exact contributions are difficult to disentangle from his mentor Leucippus, as they are often mentioned together in texts. Their speculation on atoms, taken from Leucippus, bears a passing and partial resemblance to the nineteenth-century understanding of atomic structure that has led some to regard Democritus as more of a scientist than other Greek philosophers; nevertheless their ideas rested on very different bases. Largely ignored in Athens, Democritus was nevertheless well-known to his fellow northern-born philosopher Aristotle. Plato is said to have disliked him so much that he wished all his books burnt. Many consider Democritus to be the "father of modern science".


Life
Democritus was born in the city of Abdera in Thrace, an Ionian colony of Teos, although some called him a Milesian. His year of birth was 460 BC according to Apollodorus, who is probably more reliable than Thrasyllus who placed it ten years earlier. John Burnet has argued that the date of 460 is "too early", since according to Diogenes Laërtius ix.41, Democritus said that he was a "young man (neos)" during Anaxagoras' old age (circa 440–428). It was said that Democritus' father was so wealthy that he received Xerxes on his march through Abdera. Democritus spent the inheritance which his father left him on travels into distant countries, to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. He travelled to Asia, and was even said to have reached India and Ethiopia. We know that he wrote on Babylon and Meroe; he must also have visited Egypt, and Diodorus Siculus states that he lived there for five years. He himself declared that among his contemporaries none had made greater journeys, seen more countries, and met more scholars than himself. He particularly mentions the Egyptian mathematicians, whose knowledge he praises. Theophrastus, too, spoke of him as a man who had seen many countries. During his travels, according to Diogenes Laërtius, he became acquainted with the Chaldean magi. A certain "Ostanes", one of the magi accompanying Xerxes was also said to have taught him.
After returning to his native land he occupied himself with natural philosophy. He traveled throughout Greece to acquire a knowledge of its culture. He mentions many Greek philosophers in his writings, and his wealth enabled him to purchase their writings. Leucippus, the founder of the atomism, was the greatest influence upon him. He also praises Anaxagoras. Diogenes Laertius says that he was friends with Hippocrates. He may have been acquainted with Socrates, but Plato does not mention him and Democritus himself is quoted as saying, "I came to Athens and no one knew me." Aristotle placed him among the pre-Socratic natural philosophers.
The many anecdotes about Democritus, especially in Diogenes Laërtius, attest to his disinterestedness, modesty, and simplicity, and show that he lived exclusively for his studies. One story has him deliberately blinding himself in order to be less disturbed in his pursuits; it may well be true that he lost his sight in old age. He was cheerful, and was always ready to see the comical side of life, which later writers took to mean that he always laughed at the foolishness of people.
He was highly esteemed by his fellow-citizens, "because," as Diogenes Laërtius says, "he had foretold them some things which events proved to be true," which may refer to his knowledge of natural phenomena. According to Diodorus Siculus, Democritus died at the age of 90, which would put his death around 370 BC, but other writers have him living to 104, or even 109.
Popularly known as the Laughing Philosopher, the terms Abderitan laughter, which means scoffing, incessant laughter, and Abderite, which means a scoffer, are derived from Democritus.



Labels:
•    Type→ Basic Science
•    Theories→ Epistemology,Atomism
•    Date → 460 – 370 BC

انتشار این مطلب در:

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Member login


Online visitor

We have 57 guests and no members online


Last Articles

the-mental-body-and-mind
A collection of statements by the...
the-chakras
A collection of statements by the...
etheric-vehicle
Summary: A collection of statements by the...

Last Subjects

science-explains-why-your-mom-calls-you-by-your-brother-s-name
The next time your mom calls you by your...
why-do-people-risk-their-lives-for-the-perfect-selfie
In February, Argentinian tourists passed...
risky-behavior-is-contagious
Countless parents have asked, "If your...

Please install plugin JVCounter!