While there were too many copies of his works to make the plan practical, it is said that the great philosopher Plato wanted to gather every one of Democritus’ manuscripts into a great bonfire and thus to be rid of them forever.
While Plato did not get his wish, history has not been kind to the works of Democritus. Born in Trace around 458 BC, Democritus traveled widely in the ancient world and produced some sixty works of philosophy and science. But all we have left is fragments.
Yet to a modern reader, those fragments are intriguing in large measure because they sound so modern beginning with his view of the physical world: “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is optional.”
Wyoming Catholic College philosopher, Dr. Michael Bolin recently taught Democritus and is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.