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Full nameLeucippus
BornEarly 5th century BC
Abdera or Miletus
Died5th century BC
EraPre-Socratic philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
SchoolPre-Socratic philosophy; Materialism
Main interestsMetaphysics
Notable ideasAtomism

Leucippus or Leukippos (Ancient Greek: Λεύκιππος, first half of 5th century BC) was a Greek philosopher. He was an early philosopher of atomism, the idea that everything is made up of many tiny things which always continue to exist.[1]

Leucippus was born at Miletus or Abdera,[2] although apparently Epicurus said he never existed.[3] There has long been a controversy about this.

Leucippus may have been the first person to suggest the idea of empty space (a vacuum). It is difficult to know which ideas come from him, and which come from Democritus.


  1. Wheelwright P. 1966. The Presocratics. Odyssey Press, p177.
  2. The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy, pg. xxiii. Some said Leucippus was from Elea, for his philosophy is associated with the Eleatic philosophers
  3. According to Epicurus, as reported in Diogenes Laertius' Life of Epicurus.