In this paper, I present a puzzle involving special relativity and the random selection of real numbers. In a manner to be specified, darts thrown later hit reals further into a fixed well-ordering than darts thrown earlier. Special relativity is then invoked to create a puzzle. I consider four ways of responding to this puzzle which, I suggest, fail. I then propose a resolution to the puzzle, which relies on the distinction between the potential infinite and the actual infinite. I (...) suggest that certain structures, such as a well-ordering of the reals, or the natural numbers, are examples of the potential infinite, whereas infinite integers in a nonstandard model of arithmetic are examples of the actual infinite. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that it is impossible to complete infinitely many tasks in a finite time. A key premise in my argument is that the only way to get to 0 tasks remaining is from 1 task remaining, when tasks are done 1-by-1. I suggest that the only way to deny this premise is by begging the question, that is, by assuming that supertasks are possible. I go on to present one reason why this conclusion (that supertasks are (...) impossible) is important, namely that it implies a new verdict on a decision puzzle propounded by Jeffrey Barrett and Frank Arntzenius. (shrink)
Context: The infinite has long been an area of philosophical and mathematical investigation. There are many puzzles and paradoxes that involve the infinite. Problem: The goal of this paper is to answer the question: Which objects are the infinite numbers (when order is taken into account)? Though not currently considered a problem, I believe that it is of primary importance to identify properly the infinite numbers. Method: The main method that I employ is conceptual analysis. In particular, I argue that (...) the infinite numbers should be as much like the finite numbers as possible. Results: Using finite numbers as our guide to the infinite numbers, it follows that infinite numbers are of the structure w + (w* + w) a + w*. This same structure also arises when a large finite number is under investigation. Implications: A first implication of the paper is that infinite numbers may be large finite numbers that have not been investigated fully. A second implication is that there is no number of finite numbers. Third, a number of paradoxes of the infinite are resolved. One change that should occur as a result of these findings is that “infinitely many” should refer to structures of the form w + (w* + w) a + w*; in contrast, there are “indefinitely many” natural numbers. Constructivist content: The constructivist perspective of the paper is a form of strict finitism. (shrink)
It is commonly believed that when a finite value is received in a game that has an infinite expected value, it is in one’s interest to redo the game. We have argued against this belief, at least in the repeated St Petersburg two-envelope case. We also show a case where repeatedly opting for a higher expected value leads to a worse outcome.
In ‘Infinitism Regained’, Jeanne Peijnenburg argues for a version of infinitism wherein ‘beliefs may be justified by an infinite chain of reasons that can be actually completed’. I argue that Peijnenburg has not successfully argued for this claim, but rather has shown that certain infinite series can be computed.
In this brief reply to Stephen Davis, I argue that Davis’s separationist position, wherein those who remain eternally apart from God do so by choice, is internally contradictory in that it leads to universalism.
Consider a subset, S, of the positive integers. What is the probability of selecting a number in S, assuming that each positive integer has an equal chance of selection? The purpose of this short paper is to provide an answer to this question. I also suggest that the answer allows us to determine the relative sizes of two subsets of the positive integers.
Richard Swinburne’s argument in The Existence of God discusses many probabilities, ultimately concluding that God probably exists. Swinburne gives exact values to almost none of these probabilities. I attempted to assign values to the probabilities that met that weak condition that they could be correct. In this paper, I first present a brief outline of Swinburne’s argument in The Existence of God. I then present the problems I encountered in Swinburne’s argument, specifically problems that interfered with my attempt to arrive (...) at values for the probabilities discussed by Swinburne. Finally, I suggest that Swinburne’s argument would be more persuasive if he assigned exact values to his probabilities. (shrink)
In ’The Coherence of Theism’ Richard Swinburne writes that a person cannot be omniscient and perfectly free. In ’The Existence of God’ Swinburne writes that God is a person who is omniscient and perfectly free. There is a straightforward reason why the two passages are not in tension, but recognition of this reason raises a problem for Swinburne’s argument in ’The Existence of God’ (the conclusion of which is that God likely exists). In this paper I present the problem for (...) Swinburne’s argument. I then consider two potential responses and suggest that neither succeeds. (shrink)
Swinburne relies on principle P in The Existence of God to argue that God is simple and thus likely to exist. In this paper, I argue that Swinburne does not support P. In particular, his arguments from mathematical simplicity and scientists’ preferences both fail. Given the central role P plays in Swinburne’s overall argument in The Existence of God , I conclude that Swinburne should further support P if his argument that God likely exists is to be persuasive.
Swinburne relies on principle P in ’The Existence of God’ to argue that God is simple and thus likely to exist. In this paper, I argue that Swinburne does not support P. In particular, his arguments from mathematical simplicity and scientists’ preferences both fail. Given the central role P plays in Swinburne’s overall argument in ’The Existence of God’, I conclude that Swinburne should further support P if his argument that God likely exists is to be persuasive.
In “How an Unsurpassable Being can Create a Surpassable World,” Daniel and Frances Howard-Snyder employ a fascinating thought experiment in anattempt to show that a morally unsurpassable being can create a surpassable world. Imagine that for each positive integer there is a world that a good,omnipotent, omniscient being can create. Jove randomly selects a number and creates the corresponding world; Thor simply creates world 888. The Howard-Snyders argue that it is logically possible that Jove is morally unsurpassable. William Rowe counters (...) that Thor morally surpasses Jove, thus contradictingthe claim that Jove is morally unsurpassable. Does either Jove or Thor morally surpass the other? How do their strategies compare? Could a morally unsurpassable being employ Jove’s strategy? The purpose of this paper is to answer these questions. (shrink)
When two omnipotent beings are randomly and sequentially selecting positive integers, the being who selects second is almost certain to select a larger number. I then use the relativity of simultaneity to create a paradox by having omnipotent beings select positive integers in different orders for different observers.
In this paper, I suggest that infinite numbers are large finite numbers, and that infinite numbers, properly understood, are 1) of the structure omega + (omega* + omega)Ө + omega*, and 2) the part is smaller than the whole. I present an explanation of these claims in terms of epistemic limitations. I then consider the importance, part of which is demonstrating the contradiction that lies at the heart of Cantorian set theory: the natural numbers are too large to be counted (...) by any finite number, but too small to be counted by any infinite number – there is no number of natural numbers. (shrink)