Hardly can an individual successfully deny the contributions made by philosophers to modern science and how nature is viewed. In recent years, there has been a development in the field of science, thanks to philosophers’ contributions. Early philosophers like Democritus have a lot of contribution to the modern science; their findings and philosophies have ever remained unchanged and they still hold even with the emerging researches. One of the most distinguishing philosophies of Democritus is his theory of atomism, which has since stood the test of time. The theory emerged to beat the odd logics of Eleatic School, which argued that everything was one. Ever since, they have developed the theory that has now been universally approved and used by many scientists.
The Basic Concepts of the Theory of Atomism
According to the proponents of this theory, all things we see around are composed of atoms which are small particles, indivisible and lies everywhere on empty spaces to form different shapes and sizes. They argue that atoms move in a void by bouncing against each other. As atoms move and bounce on each other, they sometimes cluster by hooking on each other. Democritus further argues that when atoms cluster, they take different forms, arrangements, and positions which lead to the existence of different macroscopic things in the world. Democritus further adds that all things move around because of the space which allows them to expand and move around.
Parmenides argued that space is a system of relations, a fact that was refuted by Democritus, who argued that void receives motions and objects which moves around it and sometimes becomes empty. They also reacted in Parmenides argument that void is a fiction which could not be recognize. Parmenides held that void is something but instead they wanted to assume that void does not exist. Democritus saw this assumption as Parmenides’ self contradiction. This was because they had already acknowledged the existence of something which they did not want to give recognition. Any movement of particles would require a void or space.
There is an existing relationship between void and atoms as argued by Democritus. Nature exists for reasons of two things, namely atoms and void. The void is like space which surrounds the atoms thus enhancing their free movements. Although there are particularly many different atoms, they take different distinct shape, and sizes depending on the nature of their void. Such a clear concept on the relationship is the way void influences the atoms in acquiring the shapes and sizes. For instance, the void determines the amount of atoms it will be capable of holding at a given time hence affecting the quantity and quality.
Some of the characteristics of atoms that were pointed out by the Democritus are that atoms can not be physically divided further. Atoms are not destructive in that they do not affect the individual’s ability to carry his or her activities. Atoms are always in motion because they are in a void, which allows them to freely move around in a given manner in accordance to shape and size of the void. At the same time, atoms take different shapes and sizes no matter the atom. According to Democritus, the mass of any atom is determined by its indivisibility, the more the atom can be divided the more it will be less in mass, and this is general characteristics that they share. Lastly, the numbers of atoms are infinite; there are millions and millions which can not be quantified and their values are unknown. Democritus got it wrong in the concept of atomic weight since it is difficult to quantify; this has been a controversial character of the characteristics of atoms.
In explaining the differences incurred in cutting an apple and a rock, Democritus explained that atoms are indivisible and impenetrable; that is why a knife has to find empty spaces to penetrate. Suppose the apple had no void, it could have been impossible to penetrate; just like a rock. On the concept of a soul, he argued that the soul is composed of atoms which were merged through a physical process. He maintained that atoms were regulated by mechanical law leading to creations of souls and further dismissed the purpose of the universe.
In explaining how atoms remain together to form an object, Democritus argued that one event leads to the other as atoms are in continuous motion. There must be arbitrary beginning and events will be leading to the creation of one thing as whole. He discredited taste as an object but instead argued that was due to one's sense organs which allow us to determine the test of every substance.
The Importance of the Theory of Democritus in Revolutionizing the 20th Century
The theory of Democritus has been accepted and has been incorporated by the views of the 20th century is defining an atom. All the characteristics of atoms he spelt out have never been challenged and this gives the theory a notch ahead. They have developed the mechanistic view that everything in nature is a product of atom collisions. However, the theory failed to the interventions of gods in the working of the cultures and traditions. The theory cannot state that everything that happens to mankind has just to be explained in atomic perspective.
In conclusion, the theory of Democritus has been helpful in revolutionizing the 20th century natural science; they have tried to put forward concepts, which have been universally accepted. All the concepts about atom have stood over time even with the modern developments and research in the field of natural science. Democritus philosophy has been adopted widely and all his predecessors base their facts on his early findings.