All living and sentient things are formed out of insentient atoms (e.g.
Its warm touch seemed so like a human caress, I really thought it was a sentient being, capable of loving and protecting me.
For humanism, which was the vital element in the Revival of Learning, consists mainly of a just perception of the dignity of man as a rational, volitional and sentient being, born upon this earth with a right to use it and enjoy it.
Finally, in the spirit of Plato's Phaedo and the dialogue Eudemus, the Protrepticus holds that the soul is bound to the sentient members of the body as prisoners in Etruria are bound face to face with corpses; whereas the later view of the De Anima is that the soul is the vital principle of the body and the body the necessary organ of the soul.
The peculiarity of organic and sentient bodies is due to the minuteness and shape of their particles, and to their special motions and combinations.
The real world thus arising consists only of diverse combinations of atoms, having the properties of magnitude, figure, weight and hardness, all other qualities being relative only to the sentient organism.
Maupertuis, who, together with Voltaire, introduced the new idea of the universe as based on Newton's discoveries, sought to account for the origin of organic things by the hypothesis of sentient atoms. Buffon the naturalist speculated, not only on the structure and genesis of organic beings, but also on the course of formation of the earth and solar system, which he conceived after the analogy of the development of organic beings out of seed.
Man's duty is undoubtedly to join in the common service of sentient beings; but his final goal is to rise above the toils and comforts of the visible creature into the vast bosom of a peaceful Nirvana.
Such mentally endowed substances might be called souls; but, as he distinguished between perception and apperception or consciousness, and considered that perceptions are often unconscious, he preferred to divide monads into unconscious entelechies of inorganic bodies, sentient souls of animals, and rational souls, or spirits, of men; while he further concluded that all these are derivative monads created by God, the monad of monads.
But the main purport of the treatise was the exposition of an elaborate system of celestial harmonies depending on the various and varying velocities of the several planets, of which the sentient soul animating the sun was the solitary auditor.