Finitism and the Beginning of the Universe

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):619-629 (2014)
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Abstract
Many philosophers have argued that the past must be finite in duration because otherwise reaching the present moment would have involved something impossible, namely, the sequential occurrence of an actual infinity of events. In reply, some philosophers have objected that there can be nothing amiss in such an occurrence, since actually infinite sequences are ‘traversed’ all the time in nature, for example, whenever an object moves from one location in space to another. This essay focuses on one of the two available replies to this objection, namely, the claim that actual infinities are not traversed in nature because space, time, and other continuous wholes divide into parts only in so far as we divide them in thought, and thus divide into only a finite number of parts. I grant that this reply succeeds in blunting the anti-finitist objection, but I argue that it also subverts the very argument against an eternal past that it was intended to save.
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Archival date: 2019-04-19
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[Handout 12].Mackie, J. L.
The Complete Works of Aristotle the Revised Oxford Translation.Aristotle, Jonathan; Barnes, J. A.; Smith, W. D. & Ross,
Extended Simples.McDaniel, Kris
Simples.Markosian, Ned

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2014-07-28

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