Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement


Zeno's Arrow and the Significance of the Present

Robin LePoidevin

Perhaps the real paradox of Zeno's Arrow is that, although entirely stationary, it has, against all odds, successfully traversed over two millennia of human thought to trouble successive generations of philosophers. The prospects were not good: few original Zenonian fragments survive, and our access to the paradoxes has been for the most part through unsympathetic commentaries. Moreover, like its sister paradoxes of motion, the Arrow has repeatedly been dismissed as specious and easily dissolved. Even those commentators who have taken it seriously have propounded solutions with which they profess themselves to be perfectly satisfied. So my question is: will Zeno's Arrow survive into the millennium just begun?

Robin LePoidevin is Professor of Philosophy at The University of Leeds.