In this paper I will first present Zeno’s Paradoxes of Motion. I will then present Aristotle’s attempts to resolve these paradoxes. In doing so, I will first present the foundation of Aristotle’s argument – his motions of time and motion as continuous, found almost exclusively in the Physics. I will then show how these notions are used to explain the paradoxes Zeno presents. As Aristotle demonstrates, if time and motion are viewed as continuous, the contradictions that Zeno arrived at disappear. The idea of continuous entities allows us to understand time and motion as intelligible and allows us to keep our understanding of them in line with our perceptions of them. I believe that the assumptions that Aristotle starts with are correct. On the metaphysical level we must accept that the universe is made up of distinct entities acting with distinct relationships to each other. On the epistemological level we must accept that our perceptions of the universe can be trusted, and our reason serves to make those perceptions intelligible and consistent with our other observations. Aristotle’s greatest contribution in his response to Zeno lies not in the fact that he allows us to understand time and motion in terms of continuous bodies, but that in any question that presents a dilemma that is contrary to our perceptions, such as Zeno’s Paradoxes, we must reason from our perception and not from assumptions that merely be the question of the argument’s conclusion.
Paul Boyles, ’99 Rock Island, IL
Sponsor: Geoffrey Gorham