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Talk: Professor Robby Finley, “Two Views of Aristotle on the Infinite”

Robby Finley

Please join us on Tuesday, November 5th at 4PM in the Willard Smith Library (Vaughan Literature Building) for a departmental seminar by Visiting Assistant Professor, Robby Finley.

Abstract: Aristotle’s claims about the infinite in the Physics leave us with an interpretative puzzle: on the one hand, he says the infinite is only potentially and not actually, but on the other, he says the infinite is like a day or a contest is, which are things that are both potential and actual. Most interpretations of Aristotle here focus on one of these commitments and reinterpret the other so that its use of ‘potential’ is unproblematic. In the first part of this talk, I argue that approaches like this will not work because they cannot capture how Aristotle actually argues for or against the existence of particular infinite processes, and I defend an interpretation that takes there to be two competing views within the text itself. In the second part, I briefly suggest how my framework for interpreting Aristotle can help us differentiate and choose between accounts of indefinite extensibility within modern philosophy of mathematics.

A short reception with snacks & refreshments will be available starting at 4PM; the talk will begin around 4:15PM.

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