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Leucippus (5th century BC)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A064-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

The early Greek philosopher Leucippus was the founder of atomism. Virtually nothing is known of his life, and his very existence was disputed in antiquity, but his role as the originator of atomism is firmly attested by Aristotle and Theophrastus, although the evidence does not allow any distinction between his doctrines and those of his more celebrated successor Democritus. He wrote a comprehensive account of the universe, the Great World-System . The single surviving quotation from his work asserts universal determinism.

Citing this article:
Taylor, C.C.W.. Leucippus (5th century BC), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A064-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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