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n. Philosophy
1. The ancient theory of Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius, according to which simple, minute, indivisible, and indestructible particles are the basic components of the entire universe.
2. A theory according to which social institutions, values, and processes arise solely from the acts and interests of individuals, who thus constitute the only true subject of analysis.

at′om·ist n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The alternative Goldstein proposes is the "atomist indexical sign" (114), which renders objects themselves a part of the process of signification.
To understand what RS is, one has to define it relationally in its opposition to categorical, essentialist, substantialist, atomist, and fixist approaches, like rational choice, normative functionalism, and positivist variable analysis, which conceive of the world as a hapless conglomerate of contingently related, free-standing entities.
Predictably, he lauds instead the Greek atomist Democritus and his
There's much more to be said about this phrase, which comes from an imagined language in Borges's "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius," and means something like "onstreaming it mooned." Just to indicate the trailhead of an interpretation of this intertextuality, the idealism of Tlon exemplified by this phrase draws into question even the most basic assertion of identity, which is fundamental to the atomist claims of our narrator (his representation of language as a set of indivisible elements).
Featley's concerns about the Baptists illustrate the assessment of Brown University professor, William McLoughlin, who wrote in 1991: "What Puritans foresaw, even if dimly, in the thrust of the principles advocated by the Baptists was the overthrow of the medieval ideal of the corporate Christian state and the substitution for it of a voluntaristic, pluralistic, individualistic, or atomist social order.
The 'great books' of the thomists, Mortimer Adler, etc., have to be supplemented and to a large degree supplanted by atomist studies.
At one point Palmer asserts that "understanding Lucretius's atomist system was certainly possible in 1417," but she does not satisfactorily substantiate this rather important claim.
This means that individuals are these ends, which contradicts the depiction of the self by liberals as being free, unencumbered and atomist. Indeed, unlike communitarians, liberals emphasize people's capacity to change their ends.
Clitophon's use of atomist theories of vision to explain the way he fell in love, then, is a bad idea, for it reveals his folly in making too much out of the images that he receives, and not subjecting them to critical scrutiny.
The simple number schemes he favored for this purpose are more ancient than the atomist theory of Lucretius, and more obvious.
(8) The Stoics had some common points with the Epicureans and atomists, and the atomist Democritus said that everything, even our mind or soul, is made up of indivisible atoms.