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Synthese

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 143–166 | Cite as

MATHEMATICS, MODELS AND ZENO'S PARADOXES

  • JOSEPH S. Alper
  • MARK Bridger
Article

Abstract

A version of nonstandard analysis, Internal Set Theory, has been used to provide a resolution of Zeno's paradoxes of motion. This resolution is inadequate because the application of Internal Set Theory to the paradoxes requires a model of the world that is not in accordance with either experience or intuition. A model of standard mathematics in which the ordinary real numbers are defined in terms of rational intervals does provide a formalism for understanding the paradoxes. This model suggests that in discussing motion, only intervals, rather than instants, of time are meaningful. The approach presented here reconciles resolutions of the paradoxes based on considering a finite number of acts with those based on analysis of the full infinite set Zeno seems to require. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the classical and quantum mechanics of performing an infinite number of acts in a finite time.

Keywords

Real Number Quantum Mechanic Finite Number Infinite Number Finite Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • JOSEPH S. Alper
    • 1
  • MARK Bridger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of Massachusetts -- BostonBoston
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsNortheastern UniversityBoston

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