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Atomism Philosophy Versus Scientific Atomic Theory Assessment Answer

The assignment has to be 1500 words in length and atom would be the topic. 

Assessment and Essay Guide

The following material serves as an aide-mémoire which might be helpful to read ahead of submitting the essay.


You must reference all works read for this paper at the end of your essay. Every article in the Reader has a bibliographical reference included. You should not use the Reader as your reference point, but use the appropriate reference for each article used. See the guide to referencing in the Library.

References directly following the quotations used in the body of your essay should include only an author, year and the page number; the full bibliographical record of the book, article, web site, etc. belongs at the end of your essay. It is not enough to reference quotations in the footnotes/endnotes. You must include all the works read for this essay at the end.

You must give references for material you quote or refer to. References must be easy to follow and be consistent throughout the essay. At the end of your essay, provide complete bibliographic details of all the books/articles you have referred to.


There are many philosophical essays that could be written on each topic, but yours must consider the question asked. When you are planning your essay, decide how you want to respond to the question. Then ask yourself which philosophers, of those you have encountered in the Unit, ‘would agree’ with your planned argument and which do not. Always try to imagine what objections might be made to your argument.

Remember that the best philosophers write clearly and in a way that attentive readers can understand.


Most successful philosophical essays have three parts. In the introduction, you might briefly state your objectives and explain how you are using key terms. The body of your essay might be developed from a list of points which you expand into sentences and paragraphs which support and discuss your claims.

The building block of any piece of writing is the paragraph. Each slot in the argumentative pattern should be filled by one or more paragraphs. Each paragraph must itself be logically developed. The thesis should be set forth at the end of the introduction. The introduction is at least one paragraph, the body of your essay will be several paragraphs, and the conclusion will be one or two paragraphs. Ideally, each paragraph will introduce and develop one of the reasons to support your opening thesis, initiated in your introduction.

The attainment of ‘clarity’ and ‘structure’ are both served by careful paragraphing. Each paragraph should deal with a single topic and no more. You should be able to put a (mental) headline on each paragraph, which summarises the subject matter it deals with. If you cannot identify one clear subject for each single paragraph, then your essay is muddled, and needs re-structuring.

The opening of your essay should lead the reader into the argument to come, and the thesis is set forth at the end of the introduction. The function of the thesis in an essay is to provide a

reader with a reference point. In your thesis, you state the main claim of your essay in a succinct form, usually a sentence, which you will expand in the main body of your essay. The easiest way to begin is: In this essay, I will concentrate ona, b, c. (you need to outline/initiate your thesis). Then, develop those points in the main body of your essay. The introduction is usually a good way to frame your argument (hence, the final version of the introduction is typically written at the end, when you know what you have argued in your essay). A good outline prevents you from repeating yourself.

Pay attention to your overall argument and link your claims together. You need to show how those claims follow one another and how they fit into your whole argument. You need ‘signposts’ to anchor claims within an overall argument. Terms like as I outlined above…; by contrast…similarly…as mentioned previously…; to repeat…; to come back to… etc. will help you to link claims together while keeping the overall argument coherent. I am sure that you know how those claims relate to each other – you just need to demonstrate that to me, the reader.

You should unpack – ‘flesh-out’ – claims you have introduced; do not assume that the reader of your work is familiar with the topic you are presenting. (If you do not intend or have no space to develop a claim – delete it! Your essay is a piece of academic writing; not part of a verbal discussion.)

You must always support your assertions with reasons, arguments and references. When you read through your essay draft, check that all your claims and statements are supported, well-thought-through and substantiated. Your listeners and readers need reasons for believing that what you say is true.

You need to consider opposing points of view as well.

You need to frame your whole argument in a consistent manner. In your conclusion (one or two paragraphs) you might summarise your key points, indicating briefly whether there are loose ends or further lines of inquiry which you have not considered.

Avoid  claims/expressions  which  are  too  sweeping  (e.g.,  throughout  the  centuries…  or  it  is apparent to everyone - How do you know that these kinds of assertions are true, and why should your reader agree with such vague allegations?) Such claims like these are too sweeping, and therefore lose any validity. This is an academic essay: you need to substantiate all your claims. So, keep in mind the following:

  1. If  it is from a  text that  you have read,  you can write e.g., According to… and retain the meaning of the claim you want to advance as one possible claim among many other claims about the world.
  2. If it is your assertion, you need to substantiate your claim and argue for its validity, not just assert it.
  3. Remember that just because some scholar has asserted a thesis does not make that thesis true: you still need to show why you support that view.
  4. The strength of your presentation rests on convincing the reader by means of a

rational argument, not merely through the forceful expression of your opinions.

Be cautious about offering your deeply held belief on an issue – no doubt you have opinions on many issues. The study of philosophy is meant (at least) to provide you with the tools to question unexamined beliefs (including your own) and to construct and evaluate arguments offered by other thinkers who, at the moment, you do not have any reason to disbelieve.

To avoid repetition, pay attention to editing. Do not expect to be able to write your essay and hand it in without making changes. The essay you submit will almost certainly be a third or fourth draft, and you need to give yourself time to make improvements between drafts.

Proofread your final draft very carefully. Consider asking friends to read through your work. While they might not be knowledgeable about the topic, they can often provide valuable

feedback about clarity of expression, style, etc. They might also spot typographical errors that spellchecks miss (e.g., form/from, there/their). If you cannot find a volunteer, try reading your essay aloud to yourself.

Avoid giving dictionary definitions (and always avoid ‘ordinary’, i.e., non-philosophical dictionaries). You should assume that your reader knows how terms are defined in dictionaries. However, you must show that you understand the terms you use.

If you are quoting from the given text, take care to copy exact words.

If you use a quotation, you need to sum up its meaning in your own words. Quotations should supplement your argument, not replace it. Do not use quotations instead of your own words. If you use a short quotation or you are paraphrasing from a text, you need to mark it as such, e.g., According to So and so notes, explains, points out etc.

Avoid the use of sexist language. Use person/peopleindividual(s)human(s)human being(s) rathethan ‘man’ or ‘mankind.’ When you are discussing an author who uses expressions you deem sexist, you do not have to adopt the same style. Be critical, however: consider the context in which the original material was written and consider whether you may need to refer to the same language in order to correctly reference that author’s ideas.

If you are paraphrasing from a given text, you need to use your own words or put the text into quotation marks. The University regards plagiarism as an extremely serious offence.

Make sure that your essay is not much longer or shorter than the required length. Include the word count at the end of the essay.



Since ancient times the composition of universe has intrigued the philosophers. The philosophy of atomism is the ancient concept which was perceived in India and Greece in an attempt to define the composition of physical world. These philosophers coined that there are some basic substances which combine to make different objects on earth. They named these basic substances as “atoms” which is derived from the Ancient Greek word “atomos” which means indivisible or uncuttable (, 2020). The philosophers believed that the materials on earth had different properties due to the different arrangements of the eternal atoms. They also agreed the presence of void and it is the infinite void where the atoms form different combinations and shapes. The theory did not believe in the concept of GOD and composite objects (Mastin, L., 2009)

Atomism  Philosophy Vs  scientific Atomic Theory

The atomism philosophy started taking its shape in ancient India between the 6th century and 1st century B.C. in the Hindu Nyaya-Vaisesika school. Their theory speculated that the atoms have the intensive and extensive properties which helps them to combine in pairs and then further group themselves into trios of pairs, thus increasing the size of the object. They proposed that the atoms are of four types and can have 24 different types of qualities (Mastin, L., 2009).

Ancient Greeks were among the first ones to propose the theory that all the mater in the universe is made up of four elements namely, water, air, earth and fire. They also believed that matter is everywhere and continuous. There is no space without matter (Vallabhajosula, S., 2009). The philosophy of atomism was founded by Greek Pre-Socratic Leucippus and his student Democritis. Democirits was born in 460 B.C. and is believed to be responsible for the detailed philosophy of atomism. As defined by Guthrie (1969, vol. II, p. 389), “Atomism is the final, and most successful, attempt to rescue the reality of the physical world from the fatal effects of Eleatic logic by means of a pluralistic theory”, as it believed in existence of void and its integration with the atoms.

Democritus philosophy of atom became the most acceptable and reasonable theory as the theory was able to explain the systematic origin and development of everything from the interaction of the indivisible atoms. The philosophy coined that:

  1. Each atom is a complete unit and is indivisible.  The parts of atom cannot be differentiated and there is no empty space within the atom. The atoms are continuously in motion and are indestructible.
  2. The earlier theories of Anaxagoras and Empedocles argued qualitative pluralism while atomism theory forwarded the quantitative pluralism.
  3. The atoms are homogeneous, uniform, colourless and tasteless
  4.  There exists the void/empty space and the atoms move about in the void, collide with each other and form the compounds.

The theory of atomism was challenged by Plato and Aristole and cpmpletely rejected. The theory was further developed in next century by Epicurean philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus though his poem “De Rerun Natura” (On natural Things). The poem later became the major source of the theory of atomism. 

In 1808 the modern scientific Atomic Theory was developed by Dalton as a quantitative theory. Dalton researched and concluded that every element is made of small identical parts called atoms. He defined the structure of atom and also prepared the table to atomic weights and proved the relativity between the weights atoms of individual elements. Through the modern atomic theory Dalton explained the combining of atoms of different elements to form the compounds. Like the atoms of hydrogen combining with oxygen to for water. Though the atomic weights were later proved to be incorrect but it laid down the concept of table of atomic weights (Vallabhajosula, S., 2009).

Scientific theory succeeded and Philosophy failed!

Democritus philosophy of atomism was based on the idea that the world is made of innumerable small atoms which are moving in void and colliding to form macroscopic bodies. However, the theory could not explain what the atoms are made up of. According to the atomism theory all atoms are similar, unchangeable and due to lack of any inner structure, they are like small inert stones. The theory is incapable of explaining why and how some atoms combine to form some substances. The theory did not approve to the existence of the fields and assumes that the atoms reacts only when they come in contact with each other. The biggest drawback of the atomism theory is that the atoms were considered to be the only constituents of the universe. The atomism theory contradicted itself by assuming that the atoms are changeless themselves but forms the basis of change in the universe (Chalmers, A., 2009, p.2 ). 

The structured quantum atoms theory given by modern physics on the other hand have a well-defined structure and is capable of explaining the change in them when they react with each other though the fields. The modern theory also leaves some open ends for further study. The study does not define any particles to be the only constituents of the world and keeps it open for further studies to reveal the internal structure electrons by the use of next generation particle accelerators. The deflection of cathode rays in the presence of electric and magnetic field helps the modern physics to calculate the ratio of charge to mass of the particles, thus providing quantities to the theories (Chalmers, A., 2009, p.2 ).

In addition to the explanation to the structure and behavior of the atoms, the use of modern atomic theory to build technologies like the lasers, microchips and hydrogen bombs proves that validity of modern science which is missing in philosophy. The use of lasers proves the quantum theory of physics and supports the stimulated emissions. 

Ontological Atomism 

Ontological arguments that “abstract from all experience and infer the existence of a highest cause entirely a priori from mere concepts” (Grøgaard, 2018). The ontological arguments for the existence of God can be traced to the age of philosophy itself. The argument lays that there cannot be anything greater than God. God is the greatest conceivable thing and nothing greater than the greatest conceivable being is possible. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s claims that God is the necessary being and attempts that is possible the existence of this being. Leibniz argues that “Since Possible necessity implies necessity, a proof of divine possibility is sufficient”. 

“The passage from possibility to actuality that is necessary in the sole case of God is the “principe des existences” – the principle of all existing things (GP VI, 402)”, in (Grøgaard, 2018). 

Leibnizs metaphysics is fundamentally based upon the existence and forms the reason for his onto theology.  His theory states “if the existence of noting further can be determined there still exists as much as is possible in accordance with the capacity of the order of possible existence”, (Grøgaard, 2018). Through his arguments Leibniz’s insists on the existence of God. Thus he gives the philosophy that the final reason for the existence of everything is God. There should be no reason for the basic unit and constituents of the universe and their inception. 

Further Leibniz distinguished the ontological reals into two realms, one of well-founded phenomena like bodies and their properties and other of purely ideal things like space and time. The ideal things according to him are abstract and imaginary. They are indeterminate and continuous while the well-founded ones are determinate and discrete. In his metaphysical writings he conceived that space and time are not purely ideal but are a well-founded phenomenon just like the bodies and their properties. Though his philosophy was not appreciated much on time as space because it lacked evidence and was not able to differentiate between ideal entities and well-founded phenomenon. 

Leibnize claims like the bodies and their properties, space and time are “in realm of everyday experience, the phenomenal world and this forms the object of study of the sciences…” (Crockrtt, T., 2008). This philosophy gives the interpretation that space and time are the objects which are actual and can be experienced and that they are well-founded like bodies. However there very less textual evidence that space-time are well founded phenomenon. 

It can be concluded that considering the individual mind and body as the two phenomenon and experiencing the union of one’s own mind and body, no one but only God can explain why and how they came into existence and how they interact (Shim, M.K., 2005). Thus Leibniz in the philosophy emphasizes on ‘dominating monad’ of mind-body union without any explanation and attributing it to existence of God.

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