The Enigma Of The Universe ► 1 ►What is the Universe? ► (B) Space And Time ► 1. In Western Philosophy

Posted: 04.09.2014

Among the ancient Greek philosophers, the atomists like Democritus and Leucippus (B.C. 400), and Epicurus (B.C. 341) considered space as an ultimate reality, while establishing their theory of atoms. In their atomism, real existence of both atoms and space was accepted. In their view, motion was regarded as a natural property of the atoms. This atomic motion was thought to take place through the "empty space" that existed between atoms. According to their atomic theory, matter did not consist only of the "Full", but also of the "Void", of the empty space in which the atoms moved. Thus they accepted "matter" and "space" as independent objective realities.[1]

Earlier, another Greek philosopher Parmenides (B.C. 450) had pointed out that since void or empty space is "not-being", it cannot exist. But, in the philosophy of the atomists, the logical objection of Parmenides against the void was held invalid to comply with experience. They argued that without accepting the real existence of empty space, motion of the atoms would not be possible, and therefore, they maintained that space was not nothing but that it was of the nature of a receptacle, which might or might not have any given part filled with matter.[2] The ancient Greek Philosophers have treated time almost at par with space. Epicurus accepted the real existence of time and thus believed it to be an objective reality.[3]

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