Is the concept of infinity defined within philosophy?
How is it explained? Is there an attempt to constrain the infinite or is it simply accepted?
- Happy HiramLv 75 years agoFavorite Answer
Philosophy is not a unitary art like science. There is no "Is X defined in philosophy?"
The stoics built their philosophy squarely on infinity. If your actions are going to be infinitely regressive (repeat over and over) then you should eschew sadness, worry and grief as in infinite amounts these would be crippling. The stoic thus becomes a Mr. Spock, handling every situation with grace and inquisitiveness because of infinity.
Now go explore how three dozen other philosophies handle infinity.
Mine for example in this earlier answer:
- Mr. InterestingLv 75 years ago
Working with the infinite is tricky business. Zeno’s paradoxes first alerted philosophers to this in 450 B.C.E. when he argued that a fast runner such as Achilles has an infinite number of places to reach during the pursuit of a slower runner. Since then, there has been a struggle to understand how to use the notion of infinity in a coherent manner. This article concerns the significant and controversial role that the concepts of infinity and the infinite play in the disciplines of philosophy, physical science, and mathematics.
Philosophers want to know whether there is more than one coherent concept of infinity; which entities and properties are infinitely large, infinitely small, infinitely divisible, and infinitely numerous; and what arguments can justify answers one way or the other.
Here are four suggested examples of these different ways to be infinite. The density of matter at the center of a black hole is infinitely large. An electron is infinitely small. An hour is infinitely divisible. The integers are infinitely numerous. These four claims are ordered from most to least controversial, although all four have been challenged in the philosophical literature.Source(s): http://www.iep.utm.edu/infinite/
- All hatLv 75 years ago
Infinity is a short cut we took a while back and it was a mistake then. Infinity is irrational, in fact, contra-rational, extra-reasonate. It is unreasonable. Illogical. Impossible. We just slapped it in place to "end" the counting numbers, 1, 2, 3, etc. Hey, how does this sequence end? Oh it must never end. It must be infinite. Ah, ok, now we can close that question. Well, no we can't. What is the next smaller number below infinity? Infinity immediately produces all kinds of logical paradoxes too, which in math (and reason) means that one or more of your starting premises must have been wrong. There are a number of applications where we would like to insert infinity because we can't see what else to do to explain or account for something - but it's an illusion. We cannot logically ramp up to infinity. It is an imposter among rational thought.
- NathanCoppedgeLv 65 years ago
Philosophers have been known to give fairly hazy answers on the subject of the absolute, including infinity.
From what I understand as a student of philosophy, infinity is the most abstract, most measurable form of the absolute. It is simply a measurement of the absolute.
Various forms of absolute qua infinity exist, or at least may be conceived, including universal values, eternity, and other forms of truth.
However, since David Hume's 'Hume's Guillotine' and Godel's Incompleteness, shadows have been thrown on the prospect of moral and mathematical infinites, and thus, the prospect of non-theoretical infinities.
However, within the study of geometry including hyperbolic geometry especially, infinity has been largely a still-available tool, separable into typological sets such as 'extended' vs. 'closed' (looping) vs. contingent (extruding). So, in my view, infinity is not dead, its just more about geometry and limitation than people first thought.
Consider, for example, that although an infinitely extended figure may appear different from the side, if it is finite in width, then it may still be seen in finite form. Therefore, the only total limit on perceiving the infinite is if the infinite is absolutely infinite. Otherwise, there may be ways to know definitions or aspects about it. This may be important.
The concept of the eternal, time-travel, etc. is more and more often a matter of applications these days, which tend to defer to science. In some ways, the limitation is partly a chemical one induced by an over-dependence on caffeine, graduate school, or logic calculations, in my opinion.
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- 5 years ago
The concept of infinity has been defined in the dictionary. It is the concept of the indefinite that is covered within philosophy. The physical extension of infinity can not be 'defined', but only be referred to as being without end.
- Anonymous5 years ago
There are many schools of thought on the subject of infinity. Most of them think of it in terms of death and the afterlife. Some have a more mathematical view of it, pointing to pi as their evidence. Science on the other hand has a few theories which suggest that infinity does not exist and that the universe will end. Here are a few: http://listverse.com/2014/04/11/10-theories-on-how...
- PlogstiesLv 75 years ago
In mathematics, infinity is a basic and very important concept defined in very specific ways (that would appear artificial to the untrained) - and is not "imaginary", is highly useful and, in fact, key to understanding certain notions. Taking the position that mathematics is somehow not useful or "imaginary" seems odd since it is the very basis of essentially ALL technology.
I have never seen an attempt at a definition of "infinity" in standard philosophy writing. If these are such kindly provide me a reference.
- NaguruLv 75 years ago
In philosophy, infinity can be attributed to infinite dimensions, as for instance in Kant's first antinomy. In both theology and philosophy, infinity is explored in articles such as the Ultimate, the Absolute, God, and Zeno's paradoxes. In Greek philosophy, for example in Anaximander, 'the Boundless' is the origin of all that is. He took the beginning or first principle to be an endless, unlimited primordial mass (ἄπειρον, apeiron). In Judeo-Christian theology, for example in the work of theologians such as Duns Scotus, the infinite nature of God invokes a sense of being without constraint, rather than a sense of being unlimited in quantity. In ethics infinity plays an important role designating that which cannot be defined or reduced to knowledge or power.Source(s): compiled.
- RajaLv 75 years ago
Infinity is not applicable to all creatures of this world. A human's life ends with his/her body. There is no after life. Philosophies based on the subject infinity cannot be quite right though there may be some points that could be accepted.
A human being is always living with a group of spirits which have joined one by one since birth. Between creatures (including human beings) and God there are millions of invisible elements. There are divisions too. We are just robots made of different materials (flesh, bones, nerves etc.,) created by scientist God or eternal beings to entertain God. Each of us have memories like computers have RAM. The fed things (data= knowledge=several spirits or invisible elements) are in contact with the mind since childhood. A brain is a media to connect spirits to a human mind. In fact, all stuff related to a human being lives with a human being in the form spirits. Even thoughts are not our own. One after another the spirits think and we choose (accept) or reject based on the knowledge we have possessed. If current (electricity) stopped the memory loses all data. This is with the computer. The same thing occurs to all of us. Computers are functioning by electric power but human beings are functioning by natural power. We call this as soul. This soul is nothing but simply the functionality of body. If this is stopped our memories lose all data (all spirits or invisible elements). These spirits leave the body and go to different places. No one lives in the form of spirit or anything after death. We are simply our bodies, the toys made for spirits for their games.
- 5 years ago
For me, infinity is the last number. It's not a definite amount, but there's nothing bigger than it which makes it an extremely unique one but still a number, to me. the last one. Jusat as 0 is the first number and -infinity is the smallest.