Essay on Atomism: From Democritus to 1960

Essay on Atomism: From Democritus to 1960

Essay on Atomism: From Democritus to 1960

Essay on Atomism: From Democritus to 1960

Excerpt

The conception of atomism has been the spearhead of the advance of science. Atomic ideas have led to the highest adaptive precision which the human brain has yet achieved.

The history of atomism should therefore be of interest to all concerned with the human mind. Whatever the limitations and dangers of atomism, its achievements are unique and worthy of study.

But there is more to it than that. The fertility of the Greek atomic philosophy proves the power of speculative reason. Even Francis Bacon, who had no idea of what was to come, admitted that what he regarded as "undisciplined thinking" had here achieved something extraordinary: an idea so powerful that it had survived centuries of criticism and neglect. Atomism has proved the power of the intellectual imagination to identify aspects of an objective truth deeply rooted in the nature of things. Hidden in the history of atomism and in the abstract mysteries of quantum mechanics there must be, still concealed, a trustworthy foundation for the human intellect.

Is this not a miracle and a promise as worthy of attention as the din of technology or the consolations of religion? A hundred generations ago a few men, trusting in their own minds, pondered on the character of the universe they knew, and pro-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.