Nay, even that school which is most accused of atheism doth most demonstrate religion; that is, the school of Leucippus
and Democritus and Epicurus.
This is definitely known to be true of the "Shield of Heracles", the first 53 lines of which belong to the fourth book of the "Catalogues", and almost certainly applies to other episodes, such as the "Suitors of Helen" (9), the "Daughters of Leucippus
", and the "Marriage of Ceyx", which last Plutarch mentions as `interpolated in the works of Hesiod.'
There appears to exist only four practicable possible answers to this question, which are: (1) There is no reason; reality is a matter of sheer random contingency (Lucretius and David Hume); (2) There are no alternatives; reality is somehow necessitated (Spinoza); (3) Reality is a matter of optimization; things are as is because that is for the best (Leibniz); and (4) All alternative possibilities actually exist (Leucippus
All Greek philosophers who followed Parmenides incorporated his idea of non-existence from non-Being and change in their philosophic system--from Democritus' and Leucippus
' unchanging atoms and Empedocles' unchanging elements (earth, air, fire and water) to Plato's division of the changing and impermanent World of Perceptions and the unchanging and permanent World of Ideas and Aristotle's distinction between the changing sub-lunar world and the unchanging ethereal heavens.
Materialists Heraclitus, Pythagoras and Xenophanes were followed by atomists like Leucippus
(5 (th) century BCE) and his disciple Democritus (5 (th)-4 (th) century BCE), and by secular humanist Epicurus (4 (th)-3 (rd) century BCE), then by Euclid (born circa 300 BCE) and Archimedes (287-211 BCE).
For, the ancient pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Democritus (with Leucippus
About 70 readings, almost all excerpts of longer works, begin with early Greek philosophy by such thinkers as Anaximander, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, Heraclitus, Empedocles, the atomists Leucippus
and Democritus, and the sophists.
Alexander presents three views: that providence is nonexistent (the opinion of Leucippus
, Democritus, and Epicurus); that providence encompasses all things (that of Zeno of Cittium and the Stoics and, according to some people, of Plato); and a third view belonging to Aristotle.
It is not haphazardly that Democritus who interpreted Leucippus
' ideas or Prasastapada and his commentator Sridhara have been looking for the first elements (arouoc, paramanu); Albert the Great, Nicolas Flamel, Roger Bacon have pursued lapis philosophorum struggling against death even with the help of alchemy.
Any approach to this tradition would need to take full stock of the references to Epicurus (and Empedocles, Leucippus
and Democritus) not only in Diogenes Laertius, but also in Aristotle, Plato and Cicero, and to Epicurus and Lucretius in Seneca, Pliny the Elder and Plutarch's Moralia; it would need to be familiar with the Neoplatonists and the medieval transmission of Epicurean ideas; it would need to explore the many different ways in which ideas were exchanged between Italy and England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.