Substance 12 (3):61 (1983)

Antoine Danchin
University of Hong Kong
Determinism/indeterminism, permanence /change, global/local — these have been the occasion for disputes that have persisted for ages. Combined in every conceivable fashion, these three pairs have given rise to theories of reality which, though incompatible, nevertheless possess some degree of adequacy. Accounting for the properties of the inorganic world, on invariably confronts several opposing attitudes, each of which questions the pertinence of the continuous/discontinuous pair, which underlies any discussion of the three pairs noted above. Thinkers of Antiquity sought to deal with this question, and the Eleatic school was dedecated to demonstrating that it would forever imprison us: appearances are discontinous, but reality is continous. Thus, the question remains central to debates in chemistry and physics, despite the remarkable attempt by the atomists to defer the problem by changing the level of description to include a macroscopic /microscopic pair destined to avert the paradox....
Keywords Determinism  Presocratics  Melissos  Continuous  Discontinuous
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DOI 10.2307/3684256
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