Overview

infinite regress


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

An argument consisting of or implying an endless sequence of steps. An argument of this kind shows, for example, that introspection cannot be a valid and complete source of self-knowledge, because it requires that it be possible to perform a mental act (such as remembering one's last birthday) while at the same time observing oneself doing it; but then the act of introspection is part of the mental process, and for a complete understanding it would be necessary to observe the act of observation, and so on, which in this case is clearly impossible. This is an example of a vicious infinite regress: an infinite regress is vicious only if it leads to an absurd conclusion, and in other cases it is often unproblematic.

Subjects: Psychology.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.