Does it. Hence, there is no void.
Does the void exist?One of the main controversies in Pre-socratic philosophy is the dispute of the existence or non-existence of the void. Two groups of philosophers argue this idea. The first group, namely Parmenides, argues that the void does not exist. This is the opinion of the Monist philosophers. The other group is the atomists who argue this thesis and believe there is a void. This group is primarily represented by the philosophers, Democritus and Leucippus.
Parmenides argues against the existence of the void. The plenum fragment states his opinion quite clearly:”Nor is it divisible, since it is all alike; nor is there more here and less there, which would prevent it from holding together, but it is full of what is. So it is all continuous, for what is clings close to what is.”This shows the idea, that if there would be a void or an empty space then “what is” would move into it.
Hence, there is no void. Because “what is” fills up this space completely. “Since it is all alike” volume or density is continuous everywhere.
Since it is not divisible there is no void between “what is”. Also “what is” itself has no void in it. If there were void or space in one object, compared to a more denser object these particles would not “hold together”. These densities are balanced out. Therefore, density in “what is” is continuous. Furthermore “what is” does not move from one place to the other.
Since “what is” clings together, there is no empty space an object could move to. Therefore, movement is impossible. “Moreover it is immovable, held so in mighty bonds. And it is without beginning and end, because both creation and destruction have been driven away by true belief. Remaining always the same and in the same place by itself, it stays fixed where it is” (Fragment 7 C, page 98).
Here Parmenides includes his idea of a plenum, where “what is” remains the same and is either created nor destroyed. This further proves the point that since there is no motion there can be no void; or vice-versa.The Atomist philosophers, however, disagree with these ideas. Leucippus agrees with fact that the universe is one plenum. However, he believes that the universe is made up of an infinite amount of plena.
These plena are invisible and when they come in contact with each other they react upon each other. This creates “Phenomena” or one might say movement. This theory is parallel do modern quantum physics. The universe is made up of an infinite amount of atoms and compounds. We have chemical reactions when they come in contact.
Therefore, matter is constantly created and destroyed through these “Phenomena”. Additionally, these particles “move in the void” (Testimonia 1, page 178). Thus, in Atomist philosophy a void must exist.Democritus dealt with the problem of weight.
“He conceives them as so small to elude our senses, but as having all sorts of forms, shapes, and different sizes” (Testimonia 7, page 187). These particles or atoms are so small in size, that we can not see them. Yet, Democritus states that these atoms take on all sorts of different appearances. (e.
g.: modern day physics tell us that a hydrogen Atom is 16 times smaller than a carbon atom). Since they all come in different sizes and are all made up from the same stuff; the atomists share this idea of a homogenous plenum with Parmenides; they must be of different mass or weight. “In the case of compounds, on the contrary, two bodies of the same size might be of different weights; for the body containing more emptiness would be lighter, while that containing less would be heavier” (Testimonia 34, page 197).
Hence, if a certain substance has more void in it, then it must be lighter in weight.Democritus also deals with the question of divisibility: “His Democritus’ theory is that they cling together and remain in certain combinations until they are shaken apart and separate by outside force” (Testimonia 7, page 187). Therefore substances are divisible once you apply force. However, the element itself, out of which the substance is made up of is not divisible.However, do the Atomist successfully meet the argument of Parmenides?”They thought that the principles or substances are atomic and indivisible and impassive because of their solidity and having no share in the void; for they said that division comes about by virtue of the void in bodies.”Simplicius shows the contrary between the Monist and Atomist philosophies. Especially how the void is used by both parties.
Depending upon the existence of the void division is possible or not. Simplicitus shares with us the fact that it is the void in the bodies themselves that create divisibility. The Atomists argue almost all of Parmenides’ ideas. They argue the non-existence of the void, by stating substances contain void or space. Yet they agree with the idea that there is no space between substances and that the universe is a plenum.
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