Borgesian infinite regress

“On some shelf in some hexagon [within the Library of Babel], it was argued, there must exist a book that is the cipher and perfect compendium of all other books *** How was one to locate the idolized secret hexagon that sheltered [this perfect book]? Someone proposed searching by regression. To locate book A, first consult book B, which tells where book A can be found; to locate book B, first consult book C, and so on, to infinity …  It is in ventures such as these that I have squandered and spent my years.” (English translation by Andrew Hurley; emphasis added by us; image below courtesy of Kristofer Porter.)

“En algún anaquel de algún hexágono (razonaron los hombres) debe existir un libro que sea la cifra y el compendio perfecto de todos los demás [libros en la Biblioteca de Babel] *** ¿Cómo localizer el venerado hexágono secreto que lo hospedaba? Alguien propuso un método regresivo: Para localizar el libro A, consultar previamente un libro B que indique el sitio de A; para localizar el libro B, consultar previamente un libro C, y así hasta lo infinito … En aventuras de ésas, he prodigado y consumido mis años.”

Jorge Luis Borges, “La biblioteca de Babel” (1941).

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
This entry was posted in Literature, Logical Fallacies, Paradoxes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Borgesian infinite regress

  1. Jeeves says:

    The search for truth is a kind of Borgesian regress

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