Two ways of looking at a Newtonian supertask

Synthese 131 (2):173 - 189 (2002)
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A supertask is a process in which an infinite number of individuated actions are performed in a finite time. A Newtonian supertask is one that obeys Newton''s laws of motion. Such supertasks can violate energy and momentum conservation and can exhibit indeterministic behavior. Perez Laraudogoitia, who proposed several Newtonian supertasks, uses a local, i.e., particle-by-particle, analysis to obtain these and other paradoxical properties of Newtonian supertasks. Alper and Bridger use a global analysis, embedding the system of particles in a Banach space, to determine the origin of the strange behavior. This paper provides a common framework for the discussion of both the local and global methods of analysis. Using this single framework, the areas of disagreement and agreement are made explicit. Further examples of supertasks are proposed to illuminate various aspects of the discussion.



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Citations of this work

Achilles, the Tortoise, and Colliding Balls.Jeanne Peijnenburg & David Atkinson - 2008 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 25 (3):187 - 201.
Evens and odds in Newtonian collision mechanics.Leonard Angel - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1):179-188.
Taking Self‐Excitations Seriously: On Angel's Initial Condition.Jon Pérez Laraudogoitia - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):319-326.

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References found in this work

Tasks, super-tasks, and the modern eleatics.Paul Benacerraf - 1962 - Journal of Philosophy 59 (24):765-784.
A Quantum Mechanical Supertask.John D. Norton - 1999 - Foundations of Physics 29 (8):1265-1302.
Modern Science and Zeno's Paradoxes of Motion.Adolf Grünbaum - 1970 - In Wesley Charles Salmon (ed.), Zeno’s Paradoxes. Indianapolis, IN, USA: Bobbs-Merrill. pp. 200--250.

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