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Keywords:

  • infinity;
  • regress;
  • parsimony

It is almost universally believed that some infinite regresses are vicious, and also almost universally believed that some are benign. In this paper I argue that regresses can be vicious for several different sorts of reasons. Furthermore, I claim that some intuitively vicious regresses do not suffer from any of the particular aetiologies that guarantee viciousness to regresses, but are nevertheless so on the basis of considerations of parsimony. The difference between some apparently benign and some apparently vicious regresses, then, turns out to be a matter of a more general assessment of costs and benefits, making viciousness of regresses in some cases less of a local matter than is usually thought.