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From Ancient Greek: ὀμοιομερής [homoiomerés], loosely translated: “homogeneous parts”. In the philosophy of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, an early idea of the concept we would today call “atoms”, i.e. indivisible particles that make up the qualities of a material.

However, Anaxagoras assumed that these smallest particles already contained all the properties of the material they form: In his view, water “atoms” were wet, those of iron hard and those of wool soft.

From a modern perspective – with a better understanding of molecules and material properties – it is not difficult to recognize the underlying error in this thinking: such properties only emerge if you have a plurality of atoms, or in some cases even by the interaction of different materials.

This concept thus commits the fallacy of division and the term is also used derivatively as a synonym for this fallacy.

Read more about this error under Fallacy of Division.

More information

  • Homöomerien in Rudolf Eisler: Wörterbuch der Philosophischen Begriffe (German)

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