Achilles and the tortoise

One of the paradoxes of Zeno of Elea uses the turtle as an example, instead of describing it in our own words, we will quote Wikipedia: In the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 meters, for example. Suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed, one faster than the other. After some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 meters, bringing him to the tortoise’s starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance, say 2 meters. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, by which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles arrives somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has some distance to go before he can even reach the tortoise. As Aristotle noted, this argument is similar to the Dichotomy.[13] It lacks, however, the apparent conclusion of motionlessness.

We refer to this paradox in 4 book notes.
The first case is referenced in The God Delusion. The next two references are in Terry Pratchett’s books, first Pyramids parody this concept, then The Science of Discworld III – Darwin’s Watch mentions it (and the events of the Pyramids). This is also mentioned in one question in The Unseen University Challenge.

In our music database, we have two song with some references to Achilles and the tortoise:
As Memory DiesEyeway to Identity

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.