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Open Access Pores and Void in Asclepiades’ Physical Theory

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Pores and Void in Asclepiades’ Physical Theory

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Abstract This paper examines a fundamental, though relatively understudied, aspect of the physical theory of the physician Asclepiades of Bithynia, namely his doctrine of pores. My principal thesis is that this doctrine is dependent on a conception of void taken directly from Epicurean physics. The paper falls into two parts: the first half addresses the evidence for the presence of void in Asclepiades’ theory, and concludes that his conception of void was basically that of Epicurus; the second half focuses on the precise nature of Asclepiadean pores, and seeks to show that they represent void interstices between the primary particles of matter which are the constituents of the human body, and are thus exactly analogous to the void interstices between atoms within solid objects in Epicurus’ theory.

Affiliations: 1: Jesus College Cambridge CB5 8BL UK dl383@cam.ac.uk

Abstract This paper examines a fundamental, though relatively understudied, aspect of the physical theory of the physician Asclepiades of Bithynia, namely his doctrine of pores. My principal thesis is that this doctrine is dependent on a conception of void taken directly from Epicurean physics. The paper falls into two parts: the first half addresses the evidence for the presence of void in Asclepiades’ theory, and concludes that his conception of void was basically that of Epicurus; the second half focuses on the precise nature of Asclepiadean pores, and seeks to show that they represent void interstices between the primary particles of matter which are the constituents of the human body, and are thus exactly analogous to the void interstices between atoms within solid objects in Epicurus’ theory.

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2012-01-01
2016-08-29

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