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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 79, Issue 3, Summer 2005

Benjamin Brown
Pages 389-409

Bonaventure on the Impossibility of a Beginningless World
Why the Traversal Argument Works

Th is paper examines St. Bonaventure’s arguments for the impossibility of a beginningless world, taking into consideration their historical background and context. His argument for the impossibility of traversing the infinite is explored at greater length, taking into account the classic objection to this argument. It is argued that Bonaventure understood the issues at hand quite well and that his traversal argument is valid. Because of the nature of an actually infinite multitude, the difference between the infinite by division and the infinite by addition collapses and a beginningless past entails a day infinitely distant from the present, as Bonaventure claims. Because such a chasm is not traversable, as virtually everyone admits, Bonaventure’s conclusion that the world must have a beginning is correct.

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