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Lucretius I

An Ontology of Motion

Thomas Nail

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The most original and shocking interpretation of Lucretius in the last 40 years

Thomas Nail argues convincingly and systematically that Lucretius was not an atomist, but a thinker of kinetic flux. In doing so, he completely overthrows the interpretive foundations of modern scientific materialism, whose philosophical origins lie in the atomic reading of Lucretius’ immensely influential book De Rerum Natura.

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A Note on the Translation and Text



Book I

1. The Birth of Venus

2. Love and War

3. Religion

4. The Flows of Matter

5. The Pores of Matter

6. The Event

7. The Folds of Matter

8. The Emancipation of the Senses

9. The Infinity of Matter

Book II

10. The Motion of Matter

11. The Swerve

12. The Form of Matter

13. Morphogenesis

14. The Sensation of Matter

15. The Multiverse

Lucretius: Our Contemporary


About the Author

Thomas Nail is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. He is the author of Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari and Zapatismo (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), The Figure of the Migrant (Stanford University Press, 2015), Theory of the Border (Oxford University Press, 2016) and co-editor of Between Deleuze and Foucault (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).


Following in the footsteps of Deleuze and Series, Thomas Nail has rescued Lucretius as a philosopher of flux.  In a reading at once daring and patient, the De Rerum Natura emerges as a text still capable of surprising us.  Nail shows us that Lucretius truly is our contemporary.

- Brooke Holmes, Princeton University

Thomas Nail’s inspired reading of Lucretius leaves us moderns with the kind of excitement the Romans must have felt as they first scrolled through that founding text of materialism. Nail makes ancient ideas erupt in a contemporary context, demonstrating their necessity to cutting-edge science and philosophy. Antiquity has never felt so alive.

- Dr Ryan Johnson, Elon University

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