QuoteDisplay MoreQuote"...the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience." – Albert Einstein
Quote"Shit happens." – Anonymous
"The arrangement of the principles is orderly and easily discerned. The first six tell us what can be predicated of the universe, the next four deal with motion, and the rest with the qualities of matter, whether in the form of atoms or compounds of atoms. It is worthy of notice that space is called void as something self-existent and that time is not men- tioned; discussion of the latter is found later as a rider to the third principle. In the ensuing list the items have been simplified in the direction of modern terminology:
1. Matter is uncreatable.
2. Matter is indestructible.
3. The universe consists of solid bodies and void.
4. Solid bodies are either compounds or simple.
5. The multitude of atoms is infinite.
6. The void is infinite in extent.
7. The atoms are always in motion.
8. The speed of atomic motion is uniform.
9. Motion is linear in space, vibratory in compounds.
10. Atoms are capable of swerving slightly at any point in space or time.
11. Atoms are characterized by three qualities, weight, shape and size.
12. The number of the different shapes is not infinite, merely in- numerable.
The first two principles deal with the indestructibility and uncreat- ability of matter. If the question be raised how the truth of these propo- sitions is established, the answer is by deduction. It must be observed that Epicurus makes no show of his logical procedures and, like the layman, employs the enthymeme or elliptical syllogism. Nevertheless,if his omissions be discerned and then supplied, the procedure is as fol- lows. The purpose is to demonstrate the uncreatability of matter. Let it then be assumed for the purpose of the argument that the reverse is true: Matter is creatable. This assumption becomes the major premise and the method becomes deductive. The deductions would be that there would be no need of seeds of plants, no limits of size, no geo- graphical distribution, no part for the seasons to play, and no necessity for fish to be born in the sea nor animals on the land.4 These inferences are all contrary to observed phenomena. Therefore, the assumption is false and the contrary must be true: Matter is uncreatable.
Again, let us assume that matter is destructible and that material things can be reduced to nothingness. Why, then, should they not vanish before our eyes instead of weakening and declining and decaying as we actually see them do? Again, whence would come the substance of the fruits that the earth produces, the waters that feed the springs and the rivers, or the fuel that feeds the stars? To such questions the only true answer can be that the death of one thing is the birth of another. The turnover of material is perpetual in nature. Otherwise all things in the long lapse of time would have passed into nothingness.5 It then follows, as in the previous instance, that the assumption of the major premise is false. Therefore the contrary is true: Matter is indestructible. It is not to the point to inquire here whether this logical method is sound in this particular application. The point is that the method should be recognized as deductive, not inductive." (DeWitt, Epicurus and His Philosophy, 156-157)