Department of Philosophy

Infinite Regress Arguments and Non-Contradiction in Plato and Aristotle

Project summary

Infinite Regress Arguments attempt to refute a position by showing that the position leads to an absurd infinite sequence. This argument strategy is used in collaborative reasoning in everyday life, in science and in philosophy. It is especially prominent, and easy to study, in Plato and Aristotle. For example, if a Form is as Platonists think, there turns out to be an infinite number of Forms. However, it is unclear how and why Infinite Regress Arguments are successful. One under-developed hypothesis is that Infinite Regress Arguments tacitly rely on a principle of non-contradiction to generate the infinite sequence.

An infinite chain going upwards into the distance.

This Newton Mobility Grant networks scholars in Brazil and the UK to investigate the relationship between Infinite Regress Arguments and contradictions in Plato and Aristotle, while developing research capacity and professional skills in both countries. This will lead to future research partnerships and grant capture in the UK and Brazil.

This network has resulted in an edited volume entitled Infinite Regress and Non-Contradiction in Ancient Philosophy edited by Luca Pitteloud and Matthew Duncombe. The volume brings together work from young and emerging scholars of Ancient Greek Philosophy from Latin America and Europe. It is under contract in the Proceedings of the British Academy series, and will be published by Oxford University Press in 2022.

Who's involved:

Matthew Duncombe



Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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