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Lucretius: atoms and opinions

Mackay, Alan L. (1990) Lucretius: atoms and opinions. Symmetry 1 (1), pp. 3-17.


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It is argued that the scientific programme most clearly articulated by Lucretius is still appropriate today, although it continues to represent a minority view of the world. In 'De rerum natura' Lucretius formulated the goals of explaining, without religious or supernatural assumptions, the properties of all living and non-living things in terms of the emergent properties of atoms. We examine five topics: atoms - structure underlies function; group theory and the breakdown of exact equivalence; the emergence of complex properties from simple units; the parallel between letters (of the alphabet) and atoms in the building of complex structures; and the coming coalescence of the mental and physical worlds.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article was reprinted in 1991 in: Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 16(2):125-139.
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Sandra Plummer
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2005
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:32

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