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Zeno's Paradoxes

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the paradoxes attributed to Zeno of Elea (c490-430BC) which have stimulated mathematicians and philosophers for millennia.

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.


Marcus du Sautoy
Professor of Mathematics and Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford

Barbara Sattler
Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews


James Warren
Reader in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 22 Sep 2016 21:30


Marcus du Sautoy at the University of Oxford

Barbara Sattler at the University of St Andrews

James Warren at the University of Cambridge

‘Time is Double the Trouble: Zeno’s Moving Rows’ by Barbara Sattler in Ancient Philosophy 35, 2015

Zeno’s Paradoxes - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Zeno’s Paradoxes – Wikipedia



Aristotle (trans. Robin Waterfield), Physics (Oxford University Press, 2008), especially Book 6, chapter 9

J. A. Faris, The Paradoxes of Zeno (Avebury, 1996)

Adolf Grunbaum, Modern Science and Zeno’s Paradoxes (Allen & Unwin, 1968)

R. M. Sainsbury, Paradoxes, Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Wesley C. Salmon (ed.), The Paradoxes of Zeno (first published 1970; Hackett Publishing Co, 2001)

Wesley C. Salmon, Space, Time and Motion: A Philosophical Introduction (University of Minnesota Press, 1980)

Marcus du Sautoy, What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge (Fourth Estate, 2016)

James Warren, Presocratics, (Routledge, 2007)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Marcus du Sautoy
Interviewed Guest Barbara Sattler
Interviewed Guest James Warren
Producer Simon Tillotson


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