Aristotle and the Atomists on the Nature of "Space"

Sandor Aladics

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This dissertation compares the arguments of Aristotle and the Atomists with respect to the following three related questions: Whether space is infinite or not? Is there such a thing as “empty space”? Is there a limit to the division of matter? Concerning each of these questions, Aristotle and the Atomists endorsed opposite views and constructed arguments in an attempt to furnish proof for their respective views. In addition, they were aware of the other party’s standpoint and often attempted to refute each other’s arguments. I utilize this fact and rely on the counter-arguments of the opposing party whenever I can. While comparing the arguments, my primary objective is to decide which side argues more conclusively in this respect. Besides ascertaining its validity, I also look for reasons why a particular argument fails or holds true. Based on these, I derive some conclusions concerning certain general problems affecting the reasoning of either Aristotle or the Atomists (or both). In addition, I discuss the manner the arguments of a particular question are connected to the arguments of the remaining two questions. In other words, I reveal the connection between the three questions of my choice. Each of these questions are discussed in a separate chapter, each of which features a “mini conclusion” where I summarize the outcome of the corresponding section of my analysis. In addition, the dissertation contains an Introduction and a concluding chapter. The latter can be divided into two sections. In the first part, I summarize the conclusions of the previous chapters and decide which party argued more conclusively as a whole. The second part is devoted to the above mentioned general problems affecting the reasoning of either Aristotle or the Atomists (or both).
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Award date3 Oct 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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