Leucippus' Atomic Theory & Model

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Life of Ancient Roman Slaves: Facts & Treatment

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Who Is Leucippus?
  • 0:53 Historical &…
  • 1:52 Atomism
  • 2:32 Creation of the Universe
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Erica Cummings

Erica teaches college Humanities, Literature, and Writing classes and has a Master's degree in Humanities.

Centuries before scientists confirmed that all matter is composed of atoms, the ancient Greek philosopher Leucippus hypothesized that the physical universe is composed of atom-like particles. After watching the video, try your hand at the quiz questions.

Who Is Leucippus?

The Pre-Socratic ancient Greek philosopher Leucippus is considered the originator of the theory of atomism. In philosophy, atomism refers to the theory that indivisible particles combine in different arrangements to compose everything in the physical world. As a Pre-Socratic philosopher, Leucippus was among the first thinkers to look to science and reason instead of mythology in order to explain the universe. In doing so, Leucippus developed the theory of atomism. Almost nothing is known of Leucippus's life and, in fact, some even doubt that he ever existed. However, some ancient writers, like Aristotle, affirm his existence and reveal some important features of Leucippus' theory of atomism, which we will examine in this lesson.

Historical & Philosophical Context

Leucippus likely lived in the 5th century BCE in the ancient Greek world. He was likely the teacher of Democritus, the ancient Greek philosopher who became the more famous proponent of atomism. Leucippus probably wrote a couple books, none of which have survived, including The Great World System and On Mind.

Leucippus's theory of atomism is probably best understood in contrast with another Pre-Socratic philosophy, called the Eleatic school. The Eleatic school argued that motion was impossible and that everything in existence was actually one, unified being. Leucippus is likely the student of the famous Eleatic philosopher, Zeno. However, Leucippus revolted against Zeno and the Eleatics' views. Instead, Leucippus argued that our experience suggests that motion does exist and that there are actually numerous different objects in the world.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support