Straton of Lampsacus

Straton of Lampsacus, born sometime around the year 340 BCE, was the second successor of Aristotle (after Theophrastus) as director of the Lyceum, or "Peripatetic" school at Athens.  Straton was the first of the philosophers to hold what has been termed a kind of atheism--the idea that the existence of the universe and the subsistence of whatever may be discovered to be its most fundamental laws ought simply to be accepted as the explanatory ultimates for which no further explanation is either necessary or possible.  In other words, he held bodies to be the only reality and explained life as a property of matter.  This view is considered to be materialistic because it explicitly ascribes various effects in physics and nature to entirely observable forces, thereby rejecting any inference of the divine.  Straton was a formidable intellect and an upright individual who unquestioningly accepted the high-minded ethics of Socrates and Plato.  His main interest was physics--he described methods for forming a vacuum, and he was the first Greek to note that falling bodies accelerate.  It is believed that Straton died in approximately 270 BCE.