Mark and Wes go into more textual detail re. Lucretius’s take on atomism and the metaphysical and epistemological problems it entails. Start with Part one.
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Lucretius believes in something like entropy: all conjoined atoms eventually break apart, but his account of the mechanism by which they join is less spelled out: When you get two heat atoms together, does that make it more likely that a third heat atom will join them? If so, why? And if there is a powerful “conjoining” force that acts to counter the destroying force, how do these two tendencies balance each other given that there are actually no forces per se in Lucretius’s system, only particles that have certain shapes?
Are atoms the only things that are really real? Or are macroscopic objects also real, but in some different sense? Are colors, then, real? And how do these semblances work, these three-dimensional wispy (atomic, of course) outlines that fly through the air and hit our eyes? Can the other cases ever detect them, e.g., aren’t there also aural illusions?