Article/Publication Details

Democritus on the Nature of Soul and Its Death

(Original title: Démokritos o podstatě duše a její smrti)
Filozofia, 2015, vol. 70, No 2, pp. 107-118.
Language: Czech
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Abstract

This paper deals with Democritus’ thoughts concerned with the life and death of human soul. Democritus was known for his materialist atomist doctrine, which had many implications for his investigations in the area of mind and soul. According to him, the soul is corporeal, i.e. it is a compound, consisting of atoms of specific (fiery) nature. Therefore, it is prone to destruction just like anything else existing in the universe. Soul must perish after the death of the body, because the material bounds holding the soul together are destroyed. Like Socrates, Democritus held the view that from a moral point of view the experience of death should not disturb us, because our death is insignificant for leading a good and happy life. Unlike Socrates, Democritus supported this view by the notion of soul as perishable entity, which is necessarily destroyed by dissolution after the death of body. By acknowledging this fact we might see quite plainly that it is us who control our life goals; this insight cannot be made clearer by any metaphysical or psychological theory.

Keywords

Ancient philosophy, Atomism, Democritus, Soul

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