Monday, February 7, 2011

The Cosmology of Leucippus

Some notes on Leucippus.

1) Leucippus said we are born star dust and we return to star dust.

"He also says that the elements, and the worlds which are derived from them, are infinite, and are dissolved again into them...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Leucippus, 3rd century

2) Leucippus said that galaxies are vortices.

"...that the worlds are produced in this manner: That many bodies, of various kinds and shapes, are borne by amputation from the infinite, into a vast vacuum; and then, they being collected together, produce one vortex; according to which they, dashing against one another, and whirling about in every direction, are separated in such a way that like attaches itself to like." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Leucippus, 3rd century

3) Leucippus was aware of accretion by gravity.

"On the other side, there is produced another enveloping membrane, which increases incessantly by the accretion of exterior bodies; and which, as it is itself animated by a circular movement, drags with it, and adds to itself, everything it meets with; some of these bodies thus enveloped re-unite again and form compounds, which are at first moist and clayey, but soon becoming dry, and being drawn on in the universal movement of the circular vortex, they catch fire, and constitute the substance of the stars." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Leucippus, 3rd century

4) Leucippus had a stellar theory that sounds identical to our modern Electric Universe Theory in the 21st century.

"[Leucippus said] All the stars are set on fire by the rapidity of their own motion; and the sun is set on fire by the stars...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Leucippus, 3rd century

5) Leucippus was an Expanding Earth Theorist. Does this mean Leucippus had also read the Zend-Avesta prior to Democritus's instruction by Ostanes?

"Leucippus admits also, that the production of worlds, their increase, and their diminution, depends on a certain necessity, the character of which he does not precisely explain." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Life of Leucippus, 3rd century


Jeffery Keown said...

Question: Assuming for the moment that all of this is true. (A very large assumption)

How did he know it?

By how I mean what methods were employed, what instruments were used, and what research was conducted?

Jeffery Keown said...

I read your source material.

"He was a pupil of Zeno. And his principal doctrines were, that all things were infinite, and were interchanged with one another; and that the universe was a vacuum, and full of bodies; also that the worlds were produced by bodies falling into the vacuum, and becoming entangled with one another; and that the nature of the stars originated in motion, according to their increase; also, that the sun is borne round in a greater circle around the moon; that the earth is carried on revolving round the centre: and that its figure resembles a drum; he was the first philosopher who spoke of atoms as principles."

Leucippus didn't even begin to understand reality. Why would he have thought the above if he knew anything at all about the universe?

OilIsMastery said...


In response to: 'How did he know it?'

"Whenever this kind of thing happens one has to envisage two possibilities. The first is that the early thinkers made a lucky guess which later proved to be correct. The second is that the thought pattern in question is not so exclusively based on the recently discovered evidence as the modern thinkers believe...." -- Erwin Schrödinger, physicist, Nature and the Greeks, 1954

"This record is far too good to be chalked up to lucky guesses. Such consistently successful results show that Democritus and his followers had developed a powerful new system for gaining knowledge -- they had begun to explore empirical science, and its methods, thousands of years before it rose up again...." -- Robert L. Oldershaw, cosmologist, Democritus - Scientific Wizard of the 5th Century B.C., Speculations in Science and Technology, Volume 21, Number 1, Pages 37-44, 1998

OilIsMastery said...


You're right: Leucippus was an absolute moron for believing in atoms.

Jeffery Keown said...

No. He was a moron for thinking this:

that the earth is carried on revolving round the centre: and that its figure resembles a drum

I swear, Ostanes, you are quite the deflector.

OilIsMastery said...

Of course the Earth is carried round the center. It's called heliocentrism.