- Also called atomic theory. Philosophy. the theory that minute, discrete, finite, and indivisible elements are the ultimate constituents of all matter.
- Psychology. a method or theory that reduces all psychological phenomena to simple elements.
Origin of atomism
First recorded in 1670–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- an ancient philosophical theory, developed by Democritus and expounded by Lucretius, that the ultimate constituents of the universe are atomsSee atom (def. 3)
- any of a number of theories that hold that some objects or phenomena can be explained as constructed out of a small number of distinct types of simple indivisible entities
- any theory that holds that an understanding of the parts is logically prior to an understanding of the wholeCompare holism (def. 3)
- psychol the theory that experiences and mental states are composed of elementary units
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012