Articles

Are "Infinity Machines" Paradoxical?

Science  26 Jan 1968:
Vol. 159, Issue 3813, pp. 396-406
DOI: 10.1126/science.159.3813.396

Abstract

The mathematical physicist Hermann Weyl (2) has claimed that, unless machines can accomplish an infinite sequence of distinct operations in a finite time, the standard mathematical theory of motion is beset by one of Zeno's kinematical paradoxes. Hence I have compared the kinematics of several such "infinity machines" to the kinematics of the continuous motion of Achilles. And I have argued that, while some designs for infinity machines are indeed inconsistent, others are not impossible on purely kinematical grounds. This argument was coupled with several reasons for denying Zeno's and A. N. Whitehead's allegation of paradox against the mathematical, description of the motion of Achilles.

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