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democritus Views Of Matter

What exactly is matter, it is not an every day question that one asks ones own self.  When looked at there are many different views on this subject, however because of the numerous numbers of different views, it is only possible to look at three of the discourses. The three discourses of matter to be looked at are; the Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical.  Each discourse has evolved through time into the views that we know, and accept today.  The distinction between these views on matter differs greatly, however it is possible to say that all three views came from the same place.  This place being ancient Greece; it was their belief in gods that brought about religion, philosophy, and then science.
The scientific view of matter has evolved over time.  Science for many centuries has been accompanied by philosophical thought, throughout time the mixture of the two is very evident.  The beginnings of western science, namely physics, coincide with that of the first period of Greek philosophers.  Physics is in fact a term derived from the Greek word physis which means the endeavor of seeing the essential nature of all things (Capra, 1977, p. 9).  The basic ideas evolved from the Greek philosophers, and philosophy remained a big part of science right up until the Newtonian view of the universe.
Newton had a mechanistic view of the universe.  He saw the universe as a three dimensional space.  This space was unchangeable and always stagnant.  
In Newtons own words, Absolute space, in its own nature, without regard to anything external, remains always similar and immovable.  All changes in the physical world were described in terms of a separate dimension, called time, which again was absolute, having no connection to the material world and flowing smoothly, from the past through the present to the future. (Capra, 1977, p. 43).  
The things, which made up the absolute space and time, were material particles.  These were perceived by Newton to be a part of all matter, as well as indestructible.  Newtons views were very parallel to those of the early Greek atomists.  Both were based on the distinction between the full and the void, between matter and space, and in both models the particles remained always identical in their mass and shape. (Capra, 1977, p. 43).  
The difference between these two views came in the forces that acted upon the particles.  The early Greeks did not elaborate on these forces, they merely accepted that there are forces that do act upon particles.  Newton thought that it was the force of gravity that acted upon the particles.  He also thought that God created the particles and the forces that act upon them.  
Newtons theory of a mechanistic universe was extremely popular with the physicists of the early nineteenth century.  Newtons laws were seen as the basic laws of nature, however in less than a century, a new set of theories of physical reality was discovered and the limitations of Newtons theories were exposed.  
This new physical reality was no doubt the work of Einstein, but it was not entirely his.  There were some other key scientists whos work contributed to that of Einsteins.  Their names were Michael Faraday and Clerk Maxwell.  Faraday was responsible for producing an electric current through a copper wire, and together with Maxwell they both produced a complete theory of electromagnetism.  Instead of saying that two charges had an attraction towards each other, they felt it more necessary to say that they disturbed each other.  This led to the theory of a force that is called a field.  This was a most profound change in mans conception of physical reality.  In the Newtonian view, the forces were rigidly connected with the bodies they act upon. (Capra, 1977, p. 48).  
Maxwell tried to explain his theories in mechanical terms, interpreting the fields as states of mechanical stress in a very light space-filling medium, called ether, and the electromagnetic waves as elastic waves of this ether. (Capra, 1977, p. 48). Maxwell did not focus on the field entities of his theories, but instead on the mechanistic entities.  Einstein focused on the fields, and stated that no ether existed, yet that these electromagnetic fields were ... more

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Throughout the history of ancient Rome and Greece drama remained a
reflection of the nature of their contemporary society.

"The function of the poet is to imitate, through the media appropriate to
the given art (drama), not particular historical events, characters,
emotions, but the universal aspects of life impressed on his mind by
observations of real life. It is closer to reality than the concrete
situation, since the universal is truer than the particular."-Aristotle.
Aristotles poetics. Chapter 1.

Greek drama originated in the 6th century b.c. in Attica, a region of
Greece centred on Athens. It developed from worship rituals of the god
Dionysus, youngest of the gods of the Greek pantheon. Dionysus was the god
of wine, sex, song and general revelry but also represented fertility and
the creative forces in life.- fig1- Thus he became very important to the
common people who relied on the fertility of there livestock, crops etc..
and also loved to relish in the festivities of the harvest.
The cult began to spread throughout Greece around 700 b.c. and with it
spread the ritual worship called a Dithyramb. A Dithyramb a choral lyric
sung in praise of Dionysus in a circular "dancing place" named an
Orchestra, around a Dionysian shrine. It was performed by a chorus of 50
men in animal dress, often goats as they were sacred to Dionysus. They
represented Satyrs, companions of Dionysus -fig 2- (no women were allowed
to participate in religious activities. Or much else for that matter).These
rituals often entailed animal sacrifices (sometimes human) and ritualised
orgies.

Although information from this period is sketchy, it is apparent that a
poet named Thespis -"Father of Drama"- (550-500 b.c.) created an adaptation
of the Dithyramb. In this adaptation of the performance the poet would
impersonate a character and engage in dialogue with the Chorus of singers,
creating the first actor  (hipokrites -literally- answerer). His idea was
apparently very successful as many other poets adapted this style and it
became known as tragedy. Derived from tragoedia (meaning "goat-song"). It
is presumed by many sources to have been named thus because of the goat
skins used by the chorus.
In 534 the tragedy was officially recognised by the state cult of Dionysus,
and an annual contest in tragedy was instituted at the Athenian festival of
Dionysus.  Gradually these plays became more and more apart of popular
Athenian culture, and began to incorporate myths not related to Dionysus
(in these cases the chorus was changed from satyrs to whatever fitted the
context).

The next century, (5th b.c.) was known as the golden age of Athens. The
Persians had recently been defeated at Salamis and Boetia, Asia Minor was
free and the Greeks were confident in their superiority. Greece experienced
a massive surge of development in philosophy, mathematics, science and art.
It boasted philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus and
Democritus, the first known historians Thucydides and Herodotus, scientists
and mathematicians like Thales, Hippocrates, Archimedes, and later Euclid
(Euclidean geometry), Pythagoras (the Pythagorean theorem), Eratosthenes,
Hero (the steam engine!), Hipparchus and Ptolemy. Much of this development
was centred around Athens, who after the Persian wars ended up with a
massive fleet of war ships, with which they forged an empire, and for a
time, dominated the other Greek states.

Drama during this time also experienced a massive surge in development,
centred around Athens. The three main innovators in drama were, Sophocles
-Fig 4-, Aeschylus -Fig 3- and Euripides -Fig5-. All three were Athenians.
The fact that our primary written sources are Athenian and that the drama
contest was Athenian may account for there being no other playwrights given
credit. Only 32 plays by survive completely intact, all by these three.
Although it retained strong links with the Dionysian cult and festivals
popular drama began to develop new meaning. The dramas reflected the social
upheaval caused by the development of new ways of thinking and behaving,
which sometimes clashed with the old ways. Dramatists of comedy and tragedy
began integrating strong philosophical, political and moral messages into
their drama. The tragedies were always based on the same ancient legends
with the same Greek heroes festival after festival eg: Antigone (414bc
Sophocles) Oresteia (458bc Aeschylus) Oedipus (441bc Sophocles). Each new
drama simply reassessed the meaning of the legend and came up with new
moralphilosophical thought behind it.
Eg: in Sophocles' "Ajax" Ajax is a metaphor for the old code of
aristocratic nobility. He eventually destroys himself through an excess of
pride, ambition and self-importance. His ideal of living and dying nobly
allowed for no compromise which would have been for the betterment of all.
Through portraying the legend ... more

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  • E: Views Of Matter E: Views Of Matter Views Of Matter What exactly is matter, it is not an every day question that one asks ones own self. When looked at there are many different views on this subject, however because of the numerous numbers of different views, it is only possible to look at three of the discourses. The three discourses of matter to be looked at are; the Religious, Scientific, and Philosophical. Each discourse has evolved through time into the views that we know, and accept today. The distinction between these view...
  • M: Throughout the history of ancient Rome and Greece M: Throughout the history of ancient Rome and Greece Throughout the history of ancient Rome and Greece drama remained a reflection of the nature of their contemporary society. The function of the poet is to imitate, through the media appropriate to the given art (drama), not particular historical events, characters, emotions, but the universal aspects of life impressed on his mind by observations of real life. It is closer to reality than the concrete situation, since the universal is truer than the particular.-Aristotle. Aristotles poetics. Cha...
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  • Atomism: Democritus and Epicurus Atomism: Democritus and Epicurus Atomism: Democritus and Epicurus Atomism: Democritus and Epicurus Philosophy 116 October 17, 1996 In the Atomists, we see pluralism taken as far as it could possibly go. We see Democritus and Epicurus divide all the world, as well as the universe, into two categories; atoms and empty space. Everything else is merely thought to exist. The atoms are eternal, infinite in size and number and they are moving through the empty space. There is no motion without empty space. Both Democritus and Epicurus...
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