RE: SETI Lucretius.

Clements, Robert (
Tue, 21 Sep 1999 08:30:38 +1000

The preSocratic tradition (to use Guthrie's useful definition: technically,
Lucretius is a Helenistic philosopher postdating Socrates by several
centuries; but he's following atomist thought originally developed by
Leucippus & Democritus & developed by Epicurus) in Greek philosophy is
filled with astonishing speculations of this kind: one of the most was by
Democritus, who is said to have speculated on single atoms the size of the
universe. Greek thought was profoundly (almost paranoically, in the case of
Parmenides; which Plato followed as diligently as Gorgias parodied him
heartily) rational; & therefore tended to assume that if something was
rational, it (in a most basic sense) somehow was... a way of thinking which
made speculations like this particularly rewarding. Evolutionary
speculations - including the wildly fantastical (but logically coherent)
visionary approach of Empedocles - were also commonplace; which only goes to
show that ancient Greece was nowhere near contemporary Kansas.

The University of Hanover in Indiana is working on an online history of
philosophy; but the none of the atomist thinkers are currently online. The
URL is:

All the best,
Robert Clements <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 1:14 am
> To:
> Subject: SETI Lucretius.
> In a message dated 9/20/99 10:19:24 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> > Lucretius, Rome's most distinguished philosopher-poet,
> > >who lived from 95-55 B.C., said that:
> > >
> > > "...since infinite space stretches out on all sides, it can
> > > be in no way considered that this is the only heaven and
> > > earth created... ...we must realize that there are other
> > > worlds in other parts of the universe, with races of differ-
> > > ent men and different animals... ...don't be frightened by
> > > the novelty of an idea..."
> > >
> What an amazing quote. It is so perceptive that I have trouble believing
> it.
> How in the world did he get it so right, and then have it forgotten for
> about
> 2 millennia? I would have liked to meet the man.
> John Marcus.

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