Français German Espagnol Portugese Chinese Japanese Arab Rusian Italian Norvegian Dutch Hebrew Polish Turkish Hindi
Home page > 20- ENGLISH - MATERIAL AND REVOLUTION > Paradoxes from Zeno of Elea

Paradoxes from Zeno of Elea

Saturday 25 August 2018, by Robert Paris

Zeno of Elea

Zeno of Elea, most historians agree, is the oldest known user of the Greek term dialectic. Zeno, a pupil and friend of Parmenides, lived in the fifth century B.C. He sought to uphold his master’s doctrine of the existence of the One by refuting and contradicting the popular belief in the existence of the Many. In reply to those who thought that Parmenides’ theory involved inconsistencies and absurdities, Zeno tried to show that the assumption of the existence of the Many carried with it inconsistencies and absurdities grosser and more numerous. Through this method of indirect argumentation, he invented the dialectic. Zeno expressed his arguments in the form of paradoxes, eight of which survive in the writings of Aristotle and Simplicius. One paradox is the race between the tortoise and Achilles. If the tortoise has the start, Achilles can never pass the tortoise for, while Achilles covers the distance from his starting point to the starting point of the tortoise, the tortoise advances a certain distance and while Achilles covers this distance the tortoise makes a further advance, and so on “ad infinitum”. Consequently, Achilles may run forever without ever overtaking the tortoise. From this source dialectic meant argumentation by contradiction and paradox.

The paradoxes from Zeno of Elea

Hegel and Zeno

Who is Zeno of Elea ?

Reply to this article

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0