Zeno’s Paradoxes

In a programme first broadcast in 2016, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Zeno of Elea, a pre-Socratic philosopher from c490-430 BC whose paradoxes were described by Bertrand Russell as “immeasurably subtle and profound.” The best known argue against motion, such as that of an arrow in flight which is at a series of different points but moving at none of them, or that of Achilles who, despite being the faster runner, will never catch up with a tortoise with a head start. Aristotle and Aquinas engaged with these, as did Russell, yet it is still debatable whether Zeno’s Paradoxes have been resolved.

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  • Marcus du Sautoy 15 episodes
    Professor of Mathematics and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford
  • Barbara Sattler No other episodes
    Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews
  • James Warren 4 episodes
    Reader in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge

Reading list

  • Physics
    Aristotle (trans. Robin Waterfield) (Oxford University Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • The Paradoxes of Zeno
    J. A. Faris (Avebury, 1996) Google Books →
  • Modern Science and Zeno's Paradoxes
    Adolf Grunbaum (Allen & Unwin, 1968)
  • Paradoxes
    R. M. Sainsbury (Cambridge University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Paradoxes of Zeno
    Wesley C. Salmon (ed.) (Hackett Publishing Co, 2001)
  • Space, Time and Motion: A Philosophical Introduction
    Wesley C. Salmon (University of Minnesota Press, 1980) Google Books →
  • What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge
    Marcus du Sautoy (Fourth Estate, 2016) Google Books →
  • Presocratics
    James Warren (Routledge, 2007) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b07vs3v1

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07vs3v1

Auto-category: 190 (Philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, the ancient Greek thinker Zeno of Elea flourished in the 5th century BC.