Page 220

207 Doctrines: Psychology is approaching the Epicurean distinction of the mind from the senses. These questions are unanswerable, and the fact of their unanswerability prompts the further unanswerable question whether their unanswerability is due to the undeveloped nature of the theory, or merely to the fragmentary state of the evidence which has come down to us. If we take seriously the atomists' view of the soul as a fine structure of spherical atoms permeating the entire body, we should expect the eidola emitted by living things themselves to contain soul-atoms, and hence themselves to be alive. It might be objected35 that eidola flow from the surfaces of bodies, whereas the soul is internal, but it is precisely the latter claim which the picture of the soul as permeating the whole body is designed to refute. 36 After all, the soul is what accounts for perception (106a), and the whole of the surface of the body (i.e., the skin) is a sense-organ. Indeed, if we take literally the claim recorded by Lucretius (HOf) that soul- and body-atoms are arranged alternately, precisely half the atoms constituting the external surface of the human body are soul-atoms (and presumably the same goes for other animal species too). It follows that half the atoms which make up each eidolon emitted by an animal must be soul-atoms, and hence that eidola of living things are themselves alive. That that was indeed the teaching of Democritus is suggested by evidence from two related areas, his account of dreams and his theology. In general, the occurrence of dreams is explained by the theory of eidola; dreaming is essentially imagination occurring during sleep, and like waking imagination is explained by the impact of stray eidola (132-3), originally, of course, emitted by real things, but frequently distorted by collisions with one another (131b). The evidence that some dream eidola are alive comes from the two passages from Plutarch cited as 133a and b. The first of these reports that dream images represent not merely physical features, but also psychological states such as desires and feelings 'and when ... they collide with people they talk as if they were alive, and tell those who receive them the opinions, words and actions of those who emitted them/ By itself, of course, this does not require that the images should themselves be alive, any more than the images on a cinema screen, but merely that they represent the behaviour, including the speech and movements, of living beings. They might be said to talk in the same sense as 'talking' films, 'as if they were alive/ which might well be taken to imply that they are not alive.37133b, on the other hand, makes it pretty clear that Democritus' view was that at least 35 Sassi 69 makes this objection, pp. 74—5. 36 See Bicknell 60. 37 So Barnes 7, ch. 21 (c).

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...

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...

Advertisement