Talk:Infinite regress

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merge with "regress argument"?[edit]

Shouldn't this be merged with regress argument? --AceMyth 00:58, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Probably not. I'm going to say no, because as I understand it, the regress argument is a general problem in epistemology as a whole, while an infinite regress typically refers to a specific problem that arises in a specific discussion. An infinite regress can arise outside of epistemology, too (assuming that anything is truly outside of epistemology). For example, in morality, divine command theory as an answer to Euthyphro's dilemma appears to suffer from an infinite regress: if the divine imparts morality, what makes the divine moral? The divine commands that the divine is moral. But what makes that command moral? Etc. — Coelacan | talk 00:18, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

vicious and not vicious[edit]

"Distinction is made between infinite regresses that are "vicious" and those that are not." Does anybody have references for this? And who was when the first to distinguish explicitly between "vicious" (or malign) and benign (harmless) infinite regresses? (talk) 20:15, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Apparently some regresses are considered "vicious" and others not. Can someone elaborate on what these terms mean, and what are some criteria used to distinguish? I'm going to add a definition I've found, but I'm by no means well informed about this. — Coelacan | talk 00:18, 26 October 2006 (UTC)


Does the session on optical recursion belong in the philosophy article?

And if the optical type of infinite regress is appropriate for this article, surely also the computer-programming type? (In programming, an infinite regress occurs when a recursive routine is written without a terminating condition, or with a terminating condition which (in some circumstances at least) is never met; such a routine exits via a crash, or forced termination by the error handlers, instead of a graceful exit by climbing back up the call stack, as a properly-written recursive routine does.) -- (talk) 15:46, 9 February 2010 (UTC)


Is this article biased? Is it really the case that using an infinite regress to explain an idea warrants an incomplete explanation? There are some objections to the cosmological argument that incorporate the idea of an infinite regress of causes, say, as not insufficient but normal, comparing it to the way we explain anything in every day life: we explain things in every day life with explanations that incorporate other explanations that incorporate other explanations... and so on -- an infinite regress of explanations. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ellenx (talkcontribs).

It is not true that our explanations of everyday events have a problem of infinite regress. As Richard Carrier explains here, our actual experiences reduce to statements that are "properly basic". "To say something is "properly basic" is to declare that it's something we get to assume without needing a reason to believe it.... For example, the fact that our thoughts and 'interpretations' exist at the moment we experience them is undeniable, regardless of whether they are true or correct, and therefore our belief in the existence of those thoughts and interpretations is properly basic." So even if you are a brain in a vat, or solipsistically the only thing in existence, it is tautological that your experience exists, because you are experiencing it. So there's no infinite regress in epistemology. — coelacan talk — 16:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

This article seems strikingly insufficient in that it defines infinite regress only in terms of propositions in a chain of deduction. Many other kinds of infinite regress ought be considered and are considered in philosophy. For example there is the old story of "turtles all the way down" with the old woman who proposed the earth is resting on a back of a turtle, who is resting on another turtle and so on "all the way down". The relationship between the turtles is not one proposition implying another, but one of gravity and support. Propositions ABOUT the turtles may be true or false, but this is an example of infinite regression of TURTLES, not of propositions. The turtles supporting each other literally, and not abstractly as logical deduction. In a similar way, considering philosophical views of cosmology will often involve infinite regress of natural causes and effects. The things in the regression are actual things, rather than propositions about the actual things, and the relationship between them is one of natural patterns of cause and effect rather than a deductive pattern of one proposition implying another. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nelicanbear (talkcontribs) 02:06, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

attribution needed?[edit]

In the Aristotle's Answer section, the initial line is a the start of a quote reading Some[attribution needed] hold that, owing to the necessity of knowing the primary premisses...

Can you really demand attribution in a quote? (talk) 10:49, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

see also: infinite regress[edit]

Amusing, but the self-referential link isn't actually an example of infinite regress. (talk) 08:01, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

vicious and non-vicious regresses[edit]

This article says:

Distinction is made between infinite regresses that are "vicious" and those that are not.

But nothing in the article explains the difference! Michael Hardy (talk) 12:18, 2 August 2014 (UTC)