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PHI 105 Week 1 Checkpoint - Argument and Logic

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Argument and Logic CheckPoint
On Rabbits and Motion
The excerpt on rabbits and motion describes the “reality is One” theory of Zeno,
Parmenides’ most eminent student. Zeno’s first argument to his theory suggests that all things
must pass through an infinite number of points to go from one place to another and that
movement requires an immeasurable amount of movement; therefore, ruling out motion (Moore
& Bruder, 2008, p. 28).
Zeno’s initial argument on rabbits and motion rules out the possibility of motion because
of the elements of infinite space and time involved in the rabbit’s movement. The strength in
Zeno’s first argument is clear with the logic suggesting that the rabbit must reach several points
when traveling from one place to another and that a specific amount of time is necessary to reach
each point. The weakness of the first argument is the idea that a thing moving from one place to
another requires both an infinite amount of time and points to get from one place to the next
(Moore & Bruder, 2008, p. 28). This does not sound logical because two points can be as close
as two feet apart; therefore, infinite time and space should not be used in this argument, when, in
fact, travel between two points may require as little as one second.
Zeno’s second argument to this theory uses the logic that for a thing to move from one
place to another it must at each moment occupy a space equal to its own length. The main point
to this argument is that if an object at any time occupies a space equal to its own length, it is at
rest; therefore, ruling out motion (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p. 28). This argument does sound
somewhat logical; although, the conclusion implying that the rabbit is at rest as it occupies this
space contradicts the fact that the rabbit must move to get from point A to point B. The strength
in Zeno’s second argument is that objects do occupy space equal to their length; physics proves
this concept. The weakness in the second argument is basic. Zeno implies that motion is
disproved because any object that occupies a space equal to its length is truly at rest. If this were
true, then what amount of space does an object occupy when moving? A moving object does
occupy space, and its length certainly does not change when in motion. The most critical
contradiction to this argument is that an object is either in motion or not in motion – it cannot be
both. Because the rabbit must move to get from point A to point B, it is in motion. If the rabbit
is in motion, it cannot be at rest; therefore, proving motion.

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References
Moore, B. N., Bruder, K. (2008). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas (7th ed.). New York: McGraw-
Hill.

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Anonymous
Excellent resource! Really helped me get the gist of things.

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