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203 Doctrines: Psychology held that the grasp of truth, traditionally the function of the mind, was achieved by perception, hence mind and soul (the seat of perception) are identical. If that is so, then he is ascribing to Democritus a criterion of identity which goes beyond the material to the functional; mind and soul are identical not merely in that they have the same matter (i.e., atoms), but also in that their function is identical. Philoponus' testimony also points towards ascribing to the atomists the identification of the function or activity of thought with that of perception. But how can such an identification be made consistent with the epistemological gulf opened up by the passages cited in 179? Must we after all concede that Democritus' account of the mind and its faculties was radically inconsistent? The answer to that question depends on how we understand the claim that the functions of thinking and perceiving are identical. In evaluating this doxographical assertion we face the difficulty that our sources, above all Theophrastus, give us vastly more detail about the atomists' account of perception than about their account of thought. Theophrastus mentions thought only in a single paragraph (113 (58)) appended to his description of Democritus' account of sight and hearing, in which he says that about thought Democritus said merely that it occurs when the constituents of the soul are properly balanced, and is affected by excess of heat or cold. If we may trust Theophrastus, then, Democritus said virtually nothing about thought as a topic in its own right, either because he simply ignored the subject or because he took it that his explanation of perception applied to thought also. Some features of our evidence suggest that the latter explanation is correct. In 131a-b Cicero discusses the Epicurean theory of thought, mentioning in passing that it is essentially the same theory as Democritus'. On that theory (see LS 15, vol. 1, pp. 72-8), thought is produced by the same mechanism as perception, viz. by the impact on the mind of extremely fine, fast-moving films of atoms (eidola) constantly emitted in continuous streams by everything around us. This theory combines a causal account of both perception and thought with a crude pictorial view of thought. The paradigm case of perception is vision; seeing something is picturing it, and picturing it consists in having a series of actual physical pictures of the thing impinge on one's soul. Thinking of something similarly consists in having physical pictures impinge on one's soul. The only difference, in the Epicurean version of the theory, was that in thought the images had to reach the central intellect, whereas sense-images were received by the sense-organs (including the soul-atoms which pervade those organs). In order to penetrate to the centre thought-images have to be finer textured than sense-images, which are too coarse in texture to pass through the sieve of the sense-organs (Lucretius IV.722-48). Since it seems that Democritus made no distinction

The Atomists -- Leucippus and Democritus  

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The Atomists -- Leucippus and Democritus  

MACEDONIA is GREECE and will always be GREECE- (if they are desperate to steal a name, Monkeydonkeys suits them just fine) ΦΕΚ,ΚΚΕ,ΚΝΕ,ΚΟΜΜ...

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