, Volume 78, Issue 5, pp 971-975
Date: 24 Mar 2012

Throwing Darts, Time, and the Infinite

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Abstract

In this paper, I present a puzzle involving special relativity and the random selection of real numbers. In a manner to be specified, darts thrown later hit reals further into a fixed well-ordering than darts thrown earlier. Special relativity is then invoked to create a puzzle. I consider four ways of responding to this puzzle which, I suggest, fail. I then propose a resolution to the puzzle, which relies on the distinction between the potential infinite and the actual infinite. I suggest that certain structures, such as a well-ordering of the reals, or the natural numbers, are examples of the potential infinite, whereas infinite integers in a nonstandard model of arithmetic are examples of the actual infinite.