What's (in) the Picture?

Chris Breebaart Photography – finding stories

Achilles and the tortoise

Greece, Lesbos – July 2007

The weekly LAPC (Lens Artists Photo Challenge) #182 is ‘interesting objects’. Zeno of Elea is famous for a set of paradoxes. One of them is the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise.

In the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start of 100 meters, for example. Suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed, one faster than the other. After some finite time, Achilles will have run 100 meters, bringing him to the tortoise’s starting point. During this time, the tortoise has run a much shorter distance, say 2 meters. It will then take Achilles some further time to run that distance, by which time the tortoise will have advanced farther; and then more time still to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles arrives somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has some distance to go before he can even reach the tortoise.

shot with Nikon D70, edited using Snapseed and Marksta.  Click the picture for a larger version

2 Responses to “Achilles and the tortoise”

  1. JohnRH

    Hmmm. GREAT photo representation, but I suspect a flaw in the logic somewhere, as the faster of the two must eventually overtake the slower. ‘Reductio ad absurdum’ indeed. 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chris Breebaart

      It is a philosophical paradox. Read the link, and you see that in reality it will never happen, but if you see it as a logical problem the tortoise wins.

      Liked by 1 person


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