SchrÖdinger’s Reception of Greek Atomism

  • Renate Wahsner
Conference paper
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 24)


The Eleatics thought that the real world was knowable only because it was motionless, the Heracliteans that it was in constant motion and thus unknowable. The Greek atomists, chiefly Democritus and Epicurus, found the way out of this gnoseological dilemma and so provided a basis for conceiving motion which remains significant in present-day physics; this explains Schrodinger’s intense interest in them. It is noted how Newton overcame the chief limitation of Greek atomism, which could not assign an active role to the interactions between atoms, and the parallelism to a guiding thought in Marx’s work is pointed out.


Individual Atom Wave Mechanic Ionian Natural Philosophy Constant Motion Secondary Quality 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renate Wahsner
    • 1
  1. 1.Einstein-LaboratoriumDeutsche Akademie der WissenschaftenPotsdamDDR

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