Foundations of Science

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 649–679 | Cite as

Why Zeno’s Paradoxes of Motion are Actually About Immobility

  • Maël BathfieldEmail author


Zeno’s paradoxes of motion, allegedly denying motion, have been conceived to reinforce the Parmenidean vision of an immutable world. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that these famous logical paradoxes should be seen instead as paradoxes of immobility. From this new point of view, motion is therefore no longer logically problematic, while immobility is. This is convenient since it is easy to conceive that immobility can actually conceal motion, and thus the proposition “immobility is mere illusion of the senses” is much more credible than the reverse thesis supported by Parmenides. Moreover, this proposition is also supported by modern depiction of material bodies: the existence of a ceaseless random motion of atoms—the ‘thermal agitation’—in the scope of contemporary atomic theory, can offer a rational explanation of this ‘illusion of immobility’. Our new approach to Zeno’s paradoxes therefore leads to presenting the novel concept of ‘impermobility’, which we think is a more adequate description of physical reality.


Zeno’s paradoxes Illusion Motion Immobility Thermal agitation 



The author would like to thank the reviewers of this manuscript for their judicious remarks and constructive comments. Dr. Celine Scornavacca is also greatly thanked for her careful reading and helpful comments.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MontpellierFrance

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