"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits." G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zeno's Apology

We know that the ancient Greeks loved their wine. So must have Zeno, the Greek philosopher who among other things is known for devising numerous paradoxes intended to endorse the views of Parmenides.
One of those paradoxes, called "The Dichotomy" claimed that you could never traverse a finite stretch of space, for in order to get to the destination one would have to first get to the half-way point, but before that one would have to reach the quarter-way point, and so on. So since traversing a finite stretch of space entailed performing an infinite number of tasks, reaching the destination, Zeno argued was impossible. 
We could rephrase this paradox in a way to claim that finishing a goblet of wine is impossible. For before one drinks the whole lot, one need's to drink half first etc. 
Now, either Zeno was also a very unusual Greek insofar as he abstained from wine - which is very doubtful, and would surely be insulting to even assume - or when it came to wine drinking he could perform the impossible! 
I'd take that as a valid defense, if Zeno chose to use it.

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