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ON THE NATURAL FACULTIES Book I
[p. 71]adherents of Asclepiades will assent to this- or rather, they will- not possibly, but certainly- declare that they disbelieve it, lest they should betray their darling prejudices.
(2) About 4 oz., or one-third of a pint.
Let us pass on, then, again to another piece of nonsense; for the sophists do not allow one to engage in enquiries that are of
any worth, albeit there are many such; they compel one to spend one's time in dissipating the fallacious arguments which they bring forward.
What, then, is this piece of nonsense? It has to do with the famous and far-renowned stone which draws iron [the lodestone]. It might be thought that this would draw
their minds to a belief that there are in all bodies certain faculties by which they attract their own proper qualities.
Now Epicurus, despite the fact that he employs in his "Physics"
Lit. physiology, i.e. nature-lore, almost our "Natural Philosophy"; cf. Introduction, p. xxvi.
elements similar to those of Asclepiades,
The ultimate particle of Epicurus was the ἄτομοf or atom (lit. "non-divisible"), of Asclepiades, the ὄρκοf or molecule. Asclepiades took his atomic theory from Epicurus, and he again from Democritus; cf. p. 49, note 5.
yet allows that iron is attracted by the lodestone,
Lit. Herculean stone.
and chaff by amber. He even tries to give the cause of the phenomenon. His view is that the atoms which flow from the stone are related in shape to those flowing from the iron, and so they become easily interlocked with one another; thus it is that, after colliding with each of the two compact masses (the stone and the iron) they then rebound into the middle and so become entangled with each other,