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De Rerum Natura

  1. Feb 11, 2004 #1

    arivero

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    As I have brought forward the topic in the LQG subforum,
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13023&perpage=12&pagenumber=6
    I think it could be good to open a thread on Lucretius Epicurus and the rest of atomists. Properly this should not be exactly in Philosophy of Science but in Metaphysics & Epistemology but it seems that the "Natura" topic are by convention worked out here.

    First, let me use an intermediate solution between latin and english... I will use *spanish* to review some of the quotes of Lucretius refering to atoms. Here come.

    I,150: Y no se me oculta que de los griegos oscuros hallazgos
    no facil es en versos latinos ponerlos en claro,
    y mas cuando mucho con nuevas palabras hay que tratarlo,
    por la escasez de la lengua y lo nuevo de lo tratado;

    I,196: de modo que a muchas cosas comunes muchos entiendas
    que hay elementos, como a las palabras vemos las letras,
    mas bien que haber cosa alguna sin sus principios que pueda.

    I, 684 Pero ello, a mi ver, es asi: hay ciertos cuerpos, que de ellos
    los choques, orden, postura, figuras, y movimentos
    fuegos producen, y mudan, mudando su ordenamiento,
    el ser de la cosa;

    I,215: A esto se annade que a todos de nuevo en los atomos suyos
    disuelve natura y hasta la nada aniquila a ninguno.
    Pues, si algo fuese mortal en sus partes todas, al punto
    sin mas cada cosa se viera acabar borrada del mundo:
    No haria falta una fuerza que hiciera de su conjunto
    rotura de partes y que desliar pudiera sus nudos.
    (et nexus exsoluere posset)

    I,238: En fin, toda cosa un mismo poder y causa a cada hora
    las destruiria, si no es que materia enterna lo estorba
    sus lazos juntando entre si mas o menos prieta o porosa:
    que un toque, en verded, de muerte seria causa de sobra,
    si, de no haber elementos de cuerpo etern, que sola
    la fuerza que sea a su vez destejer debiera su estofa.
    Mas, siendo asi que los lazos que los primordios acoplan
    son diferentes y eterna la masa es de que constan,
    siguen las cosas enteras de un cuerpo, hasta tanto que atopa
    fuerza bastante a la urdimbre de cada cual como propia.
    (vis obeat pro textura)

    I, 320: pero, quE cuerpos a cada momento de alli se desprendan,
    natura celosa ha vedado la tal vision que se vea.
    En fin, cuanto hay quen natura y el dia a las cosas agregan
    poco a poco, obligando a medida y paso que crezcan,
    ninguna agudeza de ojos que apliques hay que las vea
    ni cuanta cosa tampoco envejece de edad y se seca,
    ni las que dan sobre el mar recomidas de fina sal pennas
    dado te es ver en cada momento quE es lo que pierdan.
    Por cuerpos ciegos, por tanto, natura rige su empresa.
    Y no, sin embargo, esta en corporal harnaz embutido
    todo ni prieto doquiera, pues hay en las cosas vacio;
    lo cual en asuntos mil te hara al caso haberlo entendido
    y no dejara que vagues dudando y preguntes sin tino
    por el total de las cosas y fe no des a mis dichos.
    Con vista a lo cual, lugar hay sin toque, inane y vacio;
    lo cual si no hubiera, en modo ninguno las cosas de sitio
    podrian moverse, pues lo que del cuerpo es cargo y oficio,
    que es resistir y topar, todo ser lo tendria de fijo
    siempre ante si: nada pues avanzar podria ni pizco,
    pues no habria nada que alli el de ceder ofreciera principio.

    I,360: Porque, si hay en un copo de lana tanto de cuerpo
    como en un plomo, que pese otro tanto es justo y derecho,
    ya que empujar toda cosa hacia abajo es cargo del cuerpo,
    mientras, por contra, el ser del vacio queda sin peso.
    Asi, lo que igual de grande se ve y se ve mas ligero,
    declara sin duda que mas vacio en si tiene dentro;
    por contra, lo mas pesado proclama que mas de cuerpo
    encierra en si, y de vacio que tiene en si mucho menos.

    I,384: Por acabar, si dos cuerpos del choque a que han ido a rechace
    rapidos saltan atras, de cierto es fuerza que el aire
    ocupe todo el vacio que entre ambos cuerpos se abre;
    mas el por mas que a redor con sus auras acelerandose
    confluya, aun asi no podra el espacio todo llenarse
    en solo un momento: pues debe el primero ocupar cada parte
    que vaya encontrando, despues, que a ocuparlas todas alcance.

    II 218 del propio su peso llevados, en tiempo a veces incierto,
    incierto lugar, se tuercen un poco del derrotero,
    tanto no mAs que se piueda decir que mudO el movimiento

    II 80 Si los primordios de cosas te crees que pueden estarse
    quietos y asi nuevas cosas hacer que a moverse se lancen
    muy lejos de verdadera razon te pierdes errante:
    pues, dado que por vacio se mueven, solo le cabe
    a todo primordio de cosa o que el propio peso lo arraste
    o el choque con otro tal vez. Pues, ya que en rapido embate
    han ido a menido a chocar, resulta que saltan aparte
    por sI cada cual;

    I 1010 (que al cuerpo a que se defina)
    con el vacio, y con cuerpo a lo que es vacio, le obliga

    This duality, between being and nobeing, is the main issue, and it easy to see it as the modern duality between vector and covector, or between densities and vector fields, or betweem momentum and position. In some sense, a particle is something that owns mometum, while vacuum is something that owns space, or distances. (Note the difference with string theory, for instance)

    But amazingly the most popular detail, giving name to the whole theory, was the reference to minimal and indivisible units (Even politicians as Cicero got some interest in the name, which actually refers to the minimum unit of vote: in-dividuum. It was not until Cavalieri that the word was regained for mathematics). But these questions are not the starting point, and really you must wait until half of the first chapter to touch them.

    I 561 Pero, de hecho, se ha dado sin duda un termino y queda
    del dividir, ya que vemos las cosas que se renuevan,

    I 628 En fin, si no hiciese a todas las cosas en minimas partes
    natura la criadora por norma desmenuzarse,
    ya nada la misma de aquellas podria hacer repararse,
    puesto que aquellos que no son ningunas hechos de partes
    ya no podrian a la engendradora materia prestarle
    lo que ella requere, rebotes y pesos, varios enlaces,
    encuentros, mociones, por los que las cosas todas se hacen.

    Here one should have a lot to think about the static arguments about the minimum (I 615) and about the dinamic ones. We know, via Archimedes, that Democritus got to solve the volume for the cone, and this implies to iterate, beyond any minimum. But a volume is a static object, so perhaps atomist use a different method when dinamics is involved. It is said that the theory was developed by giving a mathematical framework to Zenon arguments (for them see quartodeciman et al. in thread
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11181 )

    Regretly, the issue of Time has been almost forgeted by Lucretius age,

    I 459 El tiempo, asimismo, no es de por si, que por solos los hechos
    sentido se alcanza de quE ha pasado en un tramo de tiempo,
    quE es lo que esta amenazando, quE va siquiendole luego;
    y el tiempo que en sI nadie puede sentirlo a bien confesemos,
    si de mocion de cosas se aparta y reposo sereno.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2004
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  3. Feb 12, 2004 #2

    Evo

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    Arivero,

    There is an English translation of De Rerum Natura at http://classics.mit.edu/Carus/nature_things.html.

    Did I find the right verse?

    Y no se me oculta que de los griegos oscuros hallazgos
    no facil es en versos latinos ponerlos en claro,
    y mas cuando mucho con nuevas palabras hay que tratarlo,
    por la escasez de la lengua y lo nuevo de lo tratado

    I know how hard it is in Latian verse
    To tell the dark discoveries of the Greeks,
    Chiefly because our pauper-speech must find
    Strange terms to fit the strangeness of the thing;

    Please let me know if I am on the right track, my Spanish is terrible.
     
  4. Feb 12, 2004 #3

    marcus

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    Last edited: Feb 14, 2004
  5. Feb 13, 2004 #4

    marcus

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    Evo, of course you found the right verse
    but it was nice of you to ask
    so that one has an easy way to reply

    can you find any more matches
    I think the verse-translation (from that one sample
    you gave) is fine and would like to see more of it
    matched to Alejandro's exerpts


    I believe that Alejandro thinks the Mediterranean
    old ones by a sort of coincidence came up with
    echos of the modern ideas or that the modern ideas
    are echos of the old ones

    for me this is epitomized by Aristarchus finding the
    heliocentric model more than a thousand years before
    copernicus and then archimedes picking up on Aristarchus
    model and actually putting it in a book that has
    by great luck survived

    but for arivero there is doubtless a good bit more to it]
    than that

    afterthought: this was a two person conversation and I
    intruded, probably shd be quiet and let Evo or Alejandro continue
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2004
  6. Feb 13, 2004 #5

    Evo

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    Marcus, I only asked arivero because he had put the spanish translation there so I figured he'd be the one to ask.

    Thank you for confirming that I guessed correctly (as it was just a guess). Now I will continue to "guess" at the rest of it.

    Anyone that will take time to answer me is welcome!!! You have always been very helpful and I appreciate that.

    I was just curious to find the english version of the verses he felt were significant.
     
  7. Feb 13, 2004 #6

    marcus

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    am looking forward to the next installment
    so far, with those 4 lines, a shakespearean actor
    would know how to deliver them so the scansion would
    give pleasure without disrupting the sense.
    I think the oldfashioned verse translation [edit: by William Ellery
    Leonard 1876-1944] is elegant.

    in case anyone wants the Latin, which has line numbers
    http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/luc.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2004
  8. Feb 14, 2004 #7

    marcus

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    Last edited: Feb 14, 2004
  9. Feb 14, 2004 #8

    Evo

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    Thank you Marcus!! I've been working on a huge project and hadn't had the time to go back through the translation.
     
  10. Feb 15, 2004 #9

    Evo

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    I see you are also a poet Marcus...
     
  11. Feb 16, 2004 #10

    marcus

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    for local attitudes to poetry see
    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=9813#post9813
    a Blake quatrain and the memorable sig of
    PF poster wuliheron
    "When in trouble
    when in doubt
    run in circles
    scream and shout"

    see however PF poster cragwolf's
    quote from PAM Dirac


    "In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=757#post757
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2004
  12. Feb 20, 2004 #11

    arivero

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    Evo and Marcus, thanks very much for the English and Latin input!

    I kept the numbering (book and line), which should be standard if the translations keep up with the verse.

    Perhaps I should add I am not the traslator -it should be obvious :-( but a friend, Agustin Garcia. I spoke of him at http://arXiv.org/abs/math/9904021 . Agustin did time ago a bilingual edition, including some minor, but new, edition of the Latin text.
     
  13. Feb 25, 2004 #12

    arivero

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    There is a lot more. The basic tools of atomism are the duality matter/vacuum and the interaction eidolon/atom, which are the ones we use today.

    Beyond that, the atomistic thought has strange philosophical links. Democritus is quoted invoking the concept of athambia in the sense of absence of spiritual pain.
    Lucretius and Epicurus expand on this, relating this pain with the concept of death, and they take a posture contrary to religion: instead of conjuring it by postulating another life, they opt to go to explain every detail until no motive for pain is left.

    There was a paralell between to notice, via Zeno, that the explanation of dynamics is limited by language, and to notice that explanation of political (spiritual, personal, etc) reality is also limited by language. Then the pain can be traced with a try of closure of the reality; this try is mainly executed by the "the system", as leftist politicians say. In this sense the Estate is the ruler of Death, as it try to impose a legal closure into your self, but also your Self is part of the system, trying to built a personality into you... Epicurean attacks are very useful too against this kind of tortures.

    In the mid XXth century Benjamin Farrington published some books on the political conflict between epicureism and platonism, which also can be related to this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2004
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