Argumentum ad infinitum

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Argumentum ad infinitum ( Latin for "argumentation to infinity") is a term used in argumentation theory and other areas of philosophy for arguments that result in an infinite regress , i.e. H. an infinite regression from condition to condition, end or reject an argument because of such an infinite regress.

In epistemology it is often postulated that there must be first principles, reasons of knowledge or a cause sui . Because every argument presupposes that the premises of the arguments apply. The requirement to justify all premises leads to the conclusion that an argumentation must also be carried out for the premises and again and again for the premises of the premises. It is therefore evident that this requirement is only of an ideal nature. This chain of argumentation is actually broken off whenever the premise itself is considered valid, for example because it is so elementary that it is obvious.

If one rejects an argument because it leads to an infinite regress, this is similar to a reductio ad absurdum . As Infinitism refers to the position held by some that an opening into an infinite regress argument is prima facie absurd.

A well-known example of argumentum ad infinitum is the unmoved mover of Aristotle . If everything that is moved is moved by another, this would lead to an infinite sequence. However, such a sequence would be impossible, therefore, according to Aristotle, there must be an immobile mover.

Occasionally the term argumentum ad infinitum is also used synonymously with argumentum ad nauseam , i.e. H. to the fallacy that a constantly repeated argument is correct.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b Nicholas Bunnin and Jiyuan Yu, 346: argument infinite regress . In: The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy . 2004.
  2. Jeanne Peijnenburg and Sylvia Wenmackers: Infinite regress in decision theory, philosophy of science, and formal epistemology . In: Synthesis . tape 191 , no. 4 , March 2014, p. 627-628 , doi : 10.1007 / s11229-014-0397-2 .
  3. Sten Hansson: Calculated overcommunication: Strategic uses of prolixity, irrelevance, and repetition in administrative language . In: Journal of Pragmatics . tape 84 , 2015, doi : 10.1016 / j.pragma.2015.05.014 : "In argumentation, repetition of an argument is sometimes fallaciously treated as a proof. Various terms have been used to signify this phenomenon: presentation as proof (Johnstone, 1983), fallacy of repeated assertion, proof by assertion, argument by repetition, proof by exhaustion (of the listener), argumentum ad nauseam or argumentum ad infinitum. "