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Unformatted text preview: Alex Sandlin
Pg. 362-368 Max Black: Achilles and the Tortoise Max Black, a professor at Cornell University who interpreted part of Zeno's argument for the paradox asserting that motion in impossible. Zeno's argument for this stated that if one gets to the finish line in a race, he must do infinitely many tasks. But if no one can do infinitely many tasks, then this person cannot finish. Although this sounds completely ridiculous, the problem is found in what way one would rationalize this to be absurd. More specifically, in parts six and seven of Max Black's "Achilles and Tortoise," I find a further worry. Black has interpreted the example in the following way. If one crosses the finish line, one must cross the half waypoint. But to get to the half waypoint, one must get to the half waypoint between the starting line and the first established half waypoint. But to get to this half way point, one must get to a half waypoint between the last half waypoint and the starting line. Ultimately, the division is impossible which means the individual cannot move from the starting line. This is the second argument of Zeno's problem, which according to Aristotle, is the term "Dichotomy," which means "the same in principle." More clearly stated, one must reach a point nearer to the starting line to initially finish. But in order to move, this individual must have previously completed an infinite amount of tasks. Therefore, this individual cannot leave or move from the initial place that person has reached (starting line). Does this not sound like a worry? It certainly does to me. If an individual cannot move from the place they have reached, how did they get there? Yes, they have completed an infinite amount of tasks before hand, but why can they not perform an infinite amount of tasks again? This point that Aristotle states is proven circular. I could just keep pushing back the starting line, but the entire time, I would know that this individual has completed an infinite amount of tasks and there is not rational reason why this individual is stopped in this particular circumstance. If this individual cannot move from the starting line, what makes it possible to move to that starting line? In a way, that starting line is like a previous finish line that this individual has reached. That starting line was his destination at one point, so what would make it so different if his destination changes from a starting line to a finish line? ...
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- Spring '07