One variety of vicious infinite regress could be when trying to justify some proposition, p, and justifying p is done with (or requires) a different proposition, p1, which, in turn, depends on p2, ..., ad infinitum, where pn diverges. — jorndoe
On the other hand, if all propositions/claims can be shown to collapse into one (like pn+1 = pn), for example, then it's not a vicious infinite regress. — jorndoe
Suppose X is true. Then it is true that "X is true". But it will also be true that " 'X is true' is true", and so on and so forth. In this case we clearly have a regress, but we have no problem in accepting it. In other words, what we have here is a benign regress. T — Mr Bee
I doubt that most Quinians or Wittgensteinians would say that it is a benign regress and would reject it, given it's similarity to the Modus-Ponen's infinite regress paradox of Lewis Carroll, as used by critics of truth-by-convention to attack the idea that the notion of logical necessity is representable or derivable from a finite supply of community conventions. — sime
Take for instance, the regress of truths. Suppose X is true. Then it is true that "X is true". But it will also be true that " 'X is true' is true", and so on and so forth. In this case we clearly have a regress, but we have no problem in accepting it. — Mr Bee
Infinite regress arguments are usually used to demonstrate a reductio ad absurdum against a position. — Mr Bee
Interesting. So, would statements such as "Every event has a prior cause" and "Every region of space is composed of smaller regions" work here to describe an infinite past or a continuous interval of space? Though I am not sure if they qualify as regresses, I am inclined to think of continuity and causality as being benign if they are so that'd be nice.
Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.