Acta Analytica

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 95-109

First online:

Infinite Regress Arguments

  • Jan Willem WielandAffiliated withCentre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy and Moral Science, Ghent University Email author 

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Infinite regress arguments play an important role in many distinct philosophical debates. Yet, exactly how they are to be used to demonstrate anything is a matter of serious controversy. In this paper I take up this metaphilosophical debate, and demonstrate how infinite regress arguments can be used for two different purposes: either they can refute a universally quantified proposition (as the Paradox Theory says), or they can demonstrate that a solution never solves a given problem (as the Failure Theory says). In the meantime, I show that Black’s view on infinite regress arguments (1996, this journal) is incomplete, and how his criticism of Passmore can be countered.


Infinite Regress Argument Schema Paradox Failure