Carroll Paradox

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Modus Ponendo Ponens leads to infinite regress.


To be proven: $q$.

$(1).\quad$ Assume $p \implies q$.
$(2).\quad$ Assume $p$.
$(3).\quad$ $p \land \paren {p \implies q} \vdash q$ by Modus Ponendo Ponens.
$(4).\quad$ From $(2)$ and $(1)$, $p \land \paren {p \implies q}$.
$(5).\quad \paren {p \land \paren {p \implies q} \land \paren {p \land \paren {p \implies q} } \vdash q} \vdash q$.
$(6).\quad$ From $(4)$ and $(3)$, $\paren {p \land \paren {p \implies q} } \land \paren {\paren {p \land \paren {p \implies q} } \vdash q}$.


and so ad infinitum (or, as Lewis Carroll put it, ad nauseaum).


This is an antinomy.

It arises because of confusion between an axiom and a rule of inference.

In this context, Modus Ponendo Ponens is a rule of inference.

Also known as

This is also found in the literature as the Achilles paradox, from the nature of its exposition by Lewis Carroll.

Source of Name

This entry was named for Lewis Carroll.

Historical Note

The Carroll Paradox was originally presented by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, writing under the name Lewis Carroll.

He presented it as a whimsical conversation between Achilles and the tortoise he had been racing in the Achilles Paradox.