Infinite Magnitudes, Infinite Multitudes, and the Beginning of the Universe

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):472-489 (2021)
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ABSTRACT W.L. Craig has argued that the universe has a beginning because (1) the infinitude of the past entails the existence of actual infinite multitudes of past intervals of time, and (2) the existence of actual infinite multitudes is impossible. Puryear has rejected (1) and argued that what the infinitude of the past entails is only the existence of an actual infinite magnitude of past time. But this does not preclude the infinitude of the past, Puryear claims, because there can be no justification for the claim that actual infinite magnitudes are impossible. I argue, against Puryear, that there can be such a justification. I claim, nevertheless, that, for reasons entirely different from Puryear’s, the finitude of the past cannot be established based either on the impossibility of actual infinite multitudes or on the impossibility of actual infinite magnitudes. My arguments in this paper draw on insights from al-Kindī and Avicenna.



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Mohammad Saleh Zarepour
University of Manchester