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date: 05 March 2021


, of Lampsacus, philosopher
  • David John Furley


Straton (1) of *Lampsacus, philosopher, head of the *Peripatetic school after *Theophrastus until his death (c.287–269 bce). The preserved list of his books (Diog. Laert. 5. 59–60) includes ethics, cosmology, zoology, psychology, physics, and logic; his work on physics and cosmology earned him the name ‘The Natural Philosopher.’ Fragments (but only fragments) of several of his books survive; a substantial portion of his doctrine about the void may be preserved in the introduction to Heron's Pneu-matica (see Gottschalk, Strato).

He rejected Aristotle's theory of place and contradicted him in asserting the existence of void in the cosmos. This has been taken as a concession to the atomists (see atomism), but it seems unlikely; Straton argued only for ‘disseminate void’—i.e. void interstices of small dimensions separating particles of matter. His reasoning was drawn chiefly from the penetration of apparently solid objects by ‘physical powers’ such as heat and light. The origin of the theory is Theophrastus' theory of ‘pores’, rather than anything in the atomists.

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