Aristotelian Infinity

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 32:233-250 (2007)
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Bowin begins with an apparent paradox about Aristotelian infinity: Aristotle clearly says that infinity exists only potentially and not actually. However, Aristotle appears to say two different things about the nature of that potential existence. On the one hand, he seems to say that the potentiality is like that of a process that might occur but isn't right now. Aristotle uses the Olympics as an example: they might be occurring, but they aren't just now. On the other hand, Aristotle says that infinity "exists in actuality as a process that is now occurring" (234). Bowin makes clear that Aristotle doesn't explicitly solve this problem, so we are left to work out the best reading we can. His proposed solution is that "infinity must be...a per se accident...of number and magnitude" (250). (Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2008.07.47)



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John Bowin
University of California, Santa Cruz

Citations of this work

Aristotle's Actual Infinities.Jacob Rosen - 2021 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 59.
Zeno Beach.Jacob Rosen - 2020 - Phronesis 65 (4):467-500.
Avicenna on Mathematical Infinity.Mohammad Saleh Zarepour - 2020 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 102 (3):379-425.

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References found in this work

XII*—Aristotelian Infinity.Jonathan Lear - 1980 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 80 (1):187-210.
Aristotelian infinity.Jaakko Hintikka - 1966 - Philosophical Review 75 (2):197-218.

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