To speak of an an actually infinite quantity or number is to speak of something that is made of finite parts or irreducible points that add up to an actual infinite. Theism I've read in defense of the second premise of most cosmological arguments that in an essentially ordered series infinite regress is impossible because if it did then there would be no first cause and therefore no source of causal power. Thus, there must be a first sufficient reason, which is its own reason – otherwise the principle of sufficient reason itself would be violated. Eternalists claim that past, present, and future all exist equally, based on special relativity theory’s denial of universal simultaneity for spatially separated events. Only if the series were finite would it be impossible for there to be something if there were no first cause or uncaused cause. Why is infinite regress impossible? Now we add more intermediate causes and after each one if we try to remove the first cause the series becomes invalid. Gorgias June 28, 2018, 5:01pm There is only ever the potentially infinite number. Aquinas does not explain why there cannot only be secondary causes. There’s an infinite number of infinitely small discrete steps within a finite period of time, thus implying infinite series of secondary causes within that same finite amount of time. An infinity cannot be reached by finite number of entities. Why infinite sum of things is impossible? Infinite regress of causes is impossible So, 4. Aristotle argued that knowing does not necessitate an infinite regress because some knowledge does not depend on demonstration: Some hold that owing to the necessity of knowing the primary premises, there is no scientific knowledge. Of course, if that is done, then eternalism as a whole collapses, since all “events” in the cosmos suddenly fall into normal time sequences with the past no longer existing and the future not yet existing, even though absolute simultaneity for spatially separated events is still denied. Powered by Discourse, best viewed with JavaScript enabled, : The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. Philosophy. and since finite amounts cannot possibly add up to a point that can be defined as actually infinite it is meaningless to speak of an infinite regress because the addition of numbers only ever allows a potential infinite; never an actual infinite. Still, if an infinite regression among proper causes of existence (extrinsic sufficient reasons) is impossible, then such a regression, if demonstrated, would require a first cause (extrinsic sufficient reason) which is its own sufficient reason … If it ends then it is a contradiction of terms. Infinite regress: Saying that infinite (without a beginning and end) number of past events must be concluded before any thing leaves the realm of existence leads to infinite regress. (This is what the argument is postulating). Now, to reconsider that chain of intermediate reasons described above, we see that the same problem arises. Infinite regress is impossible for instrumental (essential) causal chains. The regress ends in self-evident truths, the axioms of geometry, for example (Foundationalist view) In philosophy, the infinite regression phenomenon frequently … Otherwise, the chain would stop right there. 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