Essay on Aristotle 's Paradox Of The Runner

1802 Words Sep 30th, 2016 8 Pages
1. Aristotle thought to have himself a solution to Zeno’s paradox of the runner. Set out the paradox, explain Aristotle’s solution, and evaluate its success of lack thereof.

Zeno’s paradox of the runner purports to defend Parmenides’s monism, specifically by targeting the assumptions his view led critics to derive. In this way, it is not so much that Zeno simply upholds his mentor’s views, but rather, he works to uncover the absurdities that follow from the alternative view, pluralism. The paradox of the runner rests on the idea that in order to complete any task, one must first complete an infinite number of intermediate tasks. That is to say, a runner attempting to cross an arbitrary distance from Point A to Point B must first reach the middle point of A and B (say, point C), but in order to reach this point, she must first reach the middle point of A and C, and so on, ad infinitum. In this way, the runner can never reach point B. However, this impossibility does not speak to the runner’s inability to complete an infinite number of tasks. Rather, the runner can never reach point B because in this (or any) infinite sequence of points, there is no last member. Point B does not exist. Moreover, point A doesn’t even exist. For, in order to reach the starting point, the runner would first have to cross an infinite number of intermediate points to even be at point A. The runner therefore cannot even move. In this way, Zeno uses the tricky concept of infinity to show that…

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