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Two ways of looking at a Newtonian supertask

Synthese 131 (2):173 - 189 (2002)
A supertask is a process in which an infinite number of individuated actions are performed in a finite time. A Newtonian supertask is one that obeys Newton''s laws of motion. Such supertasks can violate energy and momentum conservation and can exhibit indeterministic behavior. Perez Laraudogoitia, who proposed several Newtonian supertasks, uses a local, i.e., particle-by-particle, analysis to obtain these and other paradoxical properties of Newtonian supertasks. Alper and Bridger use a global analysis, embedding the system of particles in a Banach space, to determine the origin of the strange behavior. This paper provides a common framework for the discussion of both the local and global methods of analysis. Using this single framework, the areas of disagreement and agreement are made explicit. Further examples of supertasks are proposed to illuminate various aspects of the discussion.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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