[Philosophy] The Atomists

The Greek word atomos (the negative term “a-” and “τομή,” the term for “cut”) means “uncuttable or indivisible. Ancient Atomism, proposed by Leucippus and his pupil Democritus in the 5th century BC, is a natural philosophy proposing that the universe is composed of indivisible components known as atoms.


  • Early 5th century BCE ~


  • c. 460 BC ~ c. 370 BC
  • Abdera, Thrace


  • Nature could not actually change because everything is built up of tiny elements – atoms – that are indestructible and eternal.
  • There are unlimited numbers of atoms of various kinds.
  • Everything in nature is the result of how these atoms are grouped.

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