I find the argument from first cause, contingency, and actualization to be emboldened by the very compelling thought experiment known as the Grim Reaper Paradox. For those unaware, Alexander Pruss and others developed this paradox to show that an infinite regress is impossible. I will link his explanation to the paradox here: https://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2008/01/grim-reaper-paradox.html

I have only heard one objection to this paradox, which seems weak. The person is being killed by the collection of reapers. This objection is weak to me for several reasons that I won't get into here.

My question is this: are there any other good objections or do non-proponents of causal finitism need to bite the bullet and drop their beliefs?

Thanks! :)

  • GRP is a modern rehash of Zeno's Arrow. The arrow has to cover 1/2 of the distance before it covers full distance, and 1/4 before that, etc., so it can never start. And yet it moves - contradiction. As pointed out in the comments on Pruss's blog, the moral of GRP is that if the laws of physics were not what they are (to make his supertasking reaper squad physically possible) then time would have to be discrete. Ok, so what? The problem with both is that implicit restrictions on the idealization of continuous time are ignored so that it is pushed beyond its usefulness.
    – Conifold
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 22:33
  • I don't see it as a rehash of Zeno's arrow, they seem different to me. What do you mean by super tasking and all that?
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 2:49
  • Se Infinite regress and [Infinite Regress Argumentshttps://plato.stanford.edu/entries/infinite-regress/). Already Aristotle considered the impossibility of an infinite regress in his proof of the unmoving mover (Physics, 8.1) Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 8:07
  • You may find Rubio's review of Pruss's book interesting, it discusses the paradox and makes the similarity with the Arrow explicit. It also critiques Pruss's arguments for causal finitism. Supertasking means performing infinitely many physically distinct actions in finite time, see SEP, Supertasks.
    – Conifold
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 8:35


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .