Thursday, March 3, 2011

Infinity

As I walking to class this morning, I was struck by this thought. Historically, the most popular answer to the cosmological argument has been an infinite regress of causes. (That's why the Kalaam argument has such crowd appeal.) And currently the most popular answer to the fine-tuning argument is a multiverse, and probably an infinite one. This shows a kind of inevitability of infinity. Either you believe in an infinite being (assuming one can argue that the First Cause or Designer is God) or you believe in an infinite number of finite beings. In any case, it is an impressive fact about our dim and finite intellectual faculties that they can show us the reality of infinitude. There is a kind of paradoxicality here: learning that there is infinitude (whether an infinite being or an infinite number of finite beings) shows us how limited we are in comparison to that which is not us, and yet it is an impressive feat that we can know of infinitude.

Maybe there is a design argument here, too.

5 comments:

Brandon said...

One could perhaps combine the point with Aquinas's argument about the infinite intelligible.

loudogg said...

[You can delete the previous version of this comment; I was logged into a funny account.]

Can you elaborate on "Either you believe in an infinite being... or you believe in an infinite number of finite beings."

I'm assuming by "finite beings" here you mean something like "past events"? But wouldn't that be a distinct kind of infinity (numerical) from the kind that would be predicated on a First Cause, who could presumably be timeless without creation and ontologically simple (and thus not numerically infinite in any sense)?

Alexander R Pruss said...

Right. I am not claiming it's the same kind of infinity.

Babylon5v said...

Could one believe in an finite amount of infinite beings? Or how about an infinite amount of infinite beings?

Babylon5v said...

Could one believe in an finite amount of infinite beings? Or how about an infinite amount of infinite beings?