For the sake of argument, a person could disbelieve in the infiniteness of God and still believe that an infinite regress is impossible (and thus use it in proving God's existence). But that is impossible. But is it? Infinite regress is impossible. It basically means that any infinitely recurring causality for any event is impossible, since one never actually arrives at a cause. God then isn't an exception to the impossibility of an infinite regress rule (which would itself be impossible), but stands in a qualitatively different relationship to time altogether (one which doesn't require the passing of time at all). Infinity simply doesn’t exist for a finite universe. June 28, 2018, 6:32pm #22. To argue for an infinite regress of events, you are by definition arguing for an an actually infinite number of a finite amount. Aquinas rejected it because it is a flaw. Otherwise, the chain would stop right there. Criticisms of the First and Second Ways. Solely a first cause that initiates the entire chain can do that – a first cause uncaused. Think of Zeno’s paradox. which this leads to infinite regress. You can have actual infinity. Not unless the assumption that ”in order for something to exist there must be a beginning when it was created” can be demonstrated to be true. Explain. Why Does the Universe Exist? For Plato, infinite regress is an impossibility. William Lane Craig: The Kalam Cosmological Argument and the Anthropic Principle Many scientists say that some events (on the quantum level, for example) are literally uncaused, and some say that the universe itself could have been uncaused. IWantGod. The regress argument is the argument that any proposition requires a justification.However, any justification itself requires support. If yes then 1/x is an actual infinity. The Flatlander’s Argument Against Miracles. However, just for the sake of understanding it, It'd be nice if someone could explain why this is true. It's simple: no proposition is ever justified which relies on an infinite amount of premises. Whether the intermediate causes are limited or unlimited in number, they cannot alone explain the causal process that runs through the entire chain. More later inshallah. I argue that Aquinas has good reason to hold this claim given his conception of causation. The problem is that each prior reason is not really sufficient unto itself. To speak of an an actually infinite quantity or number is to speak of something that is made of finite parts or irreducible points that add up to an actual infinite. As others in this thread have mentioned with Zeno’s Paradox, we don’t have to look far to find an infinite series of causes. Humans are notoriously lazy when it comes to thinking about infinity, so most people think, “Even with an infinite regress, at some point, my conclusions are justified.” When, in reality, the opposite is the case. Because he holds that effects But if the series were literally infinite, there ... 4 The infinite regress argument will not, however, work for Humean causes. (This is what the argument is postulating). Aristotle first tackled this problem in his own philosophy, and it had a great influence on St. Thomas Aquinas’ cosmological arguments. regardless, infinite regress is impossible simply by virtue of the 'turtles all the way down' problem. From this article, which I just found by Googling “why is an infinite regress impossible?”…. It is infinite otherwise it is bounded with by a boundary and that boundary is bounded by… etc. Think of universe. I'm hoping this version of the question will be more clear and easier to respond to. But it still stands that the infinite causal chain must have a first cause. Thus, there must be a first sufficient reason, which is its own reason – otherwise the principle of sufficient reason itself would be violated. Gorgias June 28, 2018, 5:01pm Apologetics. Infinite regress of causes is impossible So, 4. Infinity simply doesn’t exist for a finite universe. Why infinite sum of things is impossible? The demiurge simply fashioned the universe out of the disorderly material already existing. There is not an amount, quantity, or number of things, that can add up to an infinite because an infinite is quantitatively indefinable. Now, to reconsider that chain of intermediate reasons described above, we see that the same problem arises. Powered by Discourse, best viewed with JavaScript enabled, : The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. Others think there is, but that all truths are demonstrable. The reason philosophy avoids any “infinite regress” is that it leaves us with situations which are redundant, unanswerable, impossible, or useless. I've reworded a question I submitted earlier which was never selected. Only if the series were finite would it be impossible for there to be something if there were no first cause or uncaused cause. Because there is no such thing as an actually infinite number of something. Several of Thomas Aquinas's proofs for the existence of God rely on the claim that causal series cannot proceed in infinitum. If we remove the first cause, of course, the situation is invalid. It's false that everything has a cause As you can see, 4 doesn't need us to entertain a God as an uncaused cause. However brief, this summarization provides one of the first contexts for the cosmological argument and its use of infinite regress. The reason is that an instrumental chain of causes (a chain of sticks used to push a rock) can’t get started by itself. But if you agree that i have proven that an infinity cannot be reached, then you must agree that we couldn’t possibly have reached an infinite number of events in actual reality, so what sense does it make to say there is an actually infinite past? If an infinite number cannot be achieved i fail to see how an infinite regress could actually be achieved. Infinite regress is impossible for instrumental (essential) causal chains. Several versions of the Cosmological Argument (Motion and Causality) make it one of their premises that infinite regress is impossible. - Isaiah 1:18. Therefore there must be a first cause of everything. (The reductio ad absurdum technique.) The reason the universe “has to” stop at an “unmoved mover” (another way […] Is it because according to quantum mechanics things at the subatomic world do not have causes? to wit, if god made the universe, then who made god, then who made the maker of … Because by definition infinity does not end. Infinite regression suggests that the dominoes fell on their own, which is impossible. How can the God of the Philosophers be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Eternalists claim that past, present, and future all exist equally, based on special relativity theory’s denial of universal simultaneity for spatially separated events. I don’t agree with this part either. Now we add more intermediate causes and after each one if we try to remove the first cause the series becomes invalid. What makes infinite regress impossible? The regress ends in self-evident truths, the axioms of geometry, for example (Foundationalist view) Why does Aquinas think that an infinite regress is impossible? Still, if an infinite regression among proper causes of existence (extrinsic sufficient reasons) is impossible, then such a regression, if demonstrated, would require a first cause (extrinsic sufficient reason) which is its own sufficient reason … Because there is no such thing as an actually infinite number of something. Following some unpublished work of Gregory O'Hair, David Armstrong identifies and diagrams several possible ways to escape the Skeptic's infinite regress, including: Skepticism - knowledge is impossible. Infinity simply doesn’t exist for a finite universe. A Production of Word on Fire, "Come now, let us reason together." William Lane Craig . It seems that in many debates, people point to either an infinite regress or infinity in general and use that alone as a refutation. Infinite regress is impossible because infinity is an irrational term when appled to a finite universe. What is his argument? The regress is finite, but has no end (Coherence view). I've been faithfully using your podcasts, debates, books and articles for about 4 years now. If it ends then it is a contradiction of terms. This article assumes the evident truth that real causes produce real physical effects in time, as human beings normally conceive it, that is, with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing. If one regresses the chain to infinity, the total sufficient reason is never found – and thus, the final effect lacks a sufficient reason. Can someone please explain to me why an infinite regress of causes is impossible? Continue adding intermediate causes, and there is still an invalid causal series if the first cause is removed after each intermediate is added to the chain ad infinitum. The regress is infinite but virtuous. In philosophy, the infinite regression phenomenon frequently … and since finite amounts cannot possibly add up to a point that can be defined as actually infinite it is meaningless to speak of an infinite regress because the addition of numbers only ever allows a potential infinite; never an actual infinite. Think of 1/x where we gradually go toward x=0. If everything has a cause then there'a an infinite regress of causes 3. Why are philosophers so concerned with the "infinite regress"? This is why it's a logical flaw. 2. 1 … This we call "God". We could have infinite intermediate causes, so there is no need for first cause. If one regresses to infinity in looking at intermediate reasons, the fully sufficient reason will never be found, since none of the intermediate links provides the complete reason for the final effect. Imagine a simple situation in which there exists a first cause and one intermediate cause. Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied. Atheist Physicist Sean Carroll Answers…. Why infinite regress is impossible? Why does Aquinas think that an infinite regress is impossible? Sorry, I have to correct myself. If all such causes are merely intermediate, then some causal activity is passing through the entire chain, but no member of the chain can explain it. There is only ever the potentially infinite number. There is no sufficient reason in an infinite chain of causality and there is no need for it so it is meaningless to argue based on it. You are just proving that infinity cannot be reached, I think an actually infinite number is meaningless because there is no actual quantity that can be said to be infinite. An Infinite regression is a loop of premises that continue on in ad infinitum. We can only go back as far as time allows us to go in our known universe. There is no exact amount that can define a point were you actually have an infinite number of something and so the idea is meaningless.Thus if there were an infinite regress, this would be a contradiction because you would have an actually infinite number in the past; and so it’s impossible. Philosophy. Can you conceive of an infinite series stretching back in time or forward to the future? He made the point that the big bang theory is the simpler explanation for the origin of the universe and that refutes God's existence. Is an infinite regress impossible, as Aquinas says? I’m not familiar with Zeno’s paradox. For official apologetics resources please visit. I already searched the forum and google it. Production of Word on Fire, `` Come now, let us together... 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