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Transcript of Democritus
Question To Ponder About:
What beliefs and mind-frames did the philosophers during the time of Democritus uphold and how did they respond to his theory?
The exact details of his birth are not known, but estimated to be sometime around 460 B.C in Abdera, Thrace in northern Greece.
Democritus' father was very wealthy and even received the Persian king Xerxes as he traveled through Abdera.
Xerxes in return, left behind some of his magi (wise men).
According to some accounts Democritus studied astronomy and theology from them.
Democritus' Travels & Returns:
After Democritus' father's death, Democritus took of traveling in search of experience and wisdom.
He traveled to Babylon, Egypt, Ethopia, and perhaps India, using up his inheritance.
He also traveled throughout Greece to acquire a knowledge of its culture and meet Greek Philosophers.
On returning to his native land, he settled with his brother Damosis and occupied himself with natural philosophy and gave public lectures.
Democritus was known as the "Laughing Philosopher" for his tendency to mock fellow citizens for their foolishness, causing him to be also known as "The Mocker."
It is believed that he died at the age of 90 in about 370 B.C, although some writers have him living to over a hundred years of age.
TRAVELS/ RETURNS FROM TRAVELS
Opposing Views and Why?
Democritus' Introduction To The Atom
OPPOSING VIEWS AND WHY
Democritus' Intro to the Atom:
Democritus was the pupil of Leucippus, who formulated what is thought to be the first atomic theory.
Democritus asked: "Could matter be divided into smaller and smaller pieces forever, or was there a limit to the number of times a piece of matter could be divided?"
Democritus' Theory: "Matter could not be divided into smaller and smaller pieces forever, eventually the smallest possible piece would be obtained. And this piece would be indivisible."
Democritus named the smallest piece of matter "atomos", which is a greek word meaning "not to be cut."
To Democritus, atoms were small, hard particles that were all made of the same material but were different shapes and sizes. Atoms were infinite in number, always moving, and capable of joining together.
Democritus thought that shape, size, and mass, were the only properties differentiating the different types of atoms. According to Democritus, other characteristics, like color and taste, did not reflect properties of the atoms themselves, but rather resulted from the different ways in which atoms were combined and connected with one another.
2,500 years ago, early Greek philosophers believed the entire universe was a single, huge entity. In other words, "everything was one."
What Early Philosophers Believed:
Back then the generally accepted theory was that the world didn't change-it just looked like it did. In other words, greek philosophers believed that all change (and all motion) was an illusion.
They believed that all objects, all matter, and all substance were connected as a single, big, unchangeable "thing."
The Greek philosophers didn't like the atom theory because they reasoned that if all matter consists of tiny atoms float around, bang into each other, and connect together in various ways, these atoms must be floating in something but what?
Why Greek Philosophers didn't like the theory:
To Democritus, the atoms floated around in a void, (empty space or "nothingness")
Why Greek Philosophers didn't like the theory:
The Greek philosophers disliked Democritus' theory of atoms because they believed a void or complete "nothingness was illogical.
To ancient thinkers, a theory that went against "logic" was far worse than a theory that went against experience or observation.
Now why didn't the Greek philosophers perform any experiments to actually test Democritus' theory?
Testing Democritus' Theory:
Well, the problem was that the Greek philosophers didn't believe in experiments at all. Greek philosophers didn't trust their senses, they only trusted the reasoning power of their mind.
He was known for his disinterestedness, modesty, and simplicity, and appeared to live solely for his studies, declining the public honors he was offered.
He was also known as one of the most traveled scholars of his time
What Was The Main Contribution?
The theory of Democritus was the foundational stem to the study and further discovery of the atom.
A Science Project by:
Aabida Mohammed, Zeenat Khan, Jenine Abdo, and Summer Hadla
The True Scientist