An artistic ploy wherein a work refers to, or contains an image of, itself; each dependent image also contains a dependent image. You see this effect if you stand between two parallel mirrors.
Some infinite regress implementations:


A Blather of Paradoxes

An infinite regress is also an infamous phrase in the world of philosophy, where it refers to a fallacy of logic in which a premise for an argument seems to imply the neccessity of its own reapplication an infinite number of times (phew). Christian philosophers were especially concerned with this problem, as it posed a constant threat when dealing with questions regarding the existence of God...and so forth. For example, in order to avoid an infinite regress in his theory of causality (and second proof of God's existence), Thomas Aquinas proposes that there had to be an "uncaused cause" that began all change in the universe:

In the observable world causes are found ordered in a series: we never observe, nor ever could, something causing itself, for this would mean it preceded itself, and this is not possible...but if a series of causes goes on for ever it wil have no first cause, and so no intermediate causes and no last effect, which is clearly false. So we are forced to postulate some first agent cause, to which everyone gives the name God.

Others have chosen to call "it" the Big Bang, but hey. To each his own.


See also: circular logic.
Sources:
http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/i9.htm#inreg
Aquinas, Thomas. Selected Philosophical Writings. Timothy McDermott, Trans. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 200 (emphasis added).

"The Big Bang" does not side-step the infinite regress in the same way as the uncaused God of the Christian philosophers did. Christian philosophy asserts that all things have a cause, but God is perfect and so is able to be a cause in and of himself. The assertion is that anything that is perfect can be externally uncaused and still not violate the laws of causation. The modern version of the "Bing Bang" however is founded on quantum mechanics, which holds that there are circumstances where causality does not apply.

The infinite regress is crucial to all areas of philosophy, including epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. I will use ethics as my example. A moral philosophy can tell you whether something is good or bad. But what if you want to know if a particular moral philosophy--say, that of Nietzsche--is moral? You then need to make a meta-ethical judgement. But what is the moral value of the system used to discern the moral value of Nietzsche's philosophy?

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.