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Rein Raud (Self and Infinity)

The self between bounded infinities

by Rein Raud (Tallinn University, Estonia)

In my previous work I have used the expression “bounded infinity” for the sum total of possible futures as seen from one particular perspective — there are infinitely many ways in which things could go, but the infinity is not boundless, as there are things that cannot happen. Symmetrically, the same concept applies to the causes that have led to the situation in the present — one of the classical problems of causality states precisely that if we take into account absolutely all chains of causes and results that have contributed to a given state of affairs, then the concept of causality loses sense, because the domain of relevant causes increases with their distance, until absolutely everything has to be included.

As I view “the self” as a field in which certain vectors of the past are turned into trajectories reaching out into possible futures, this field can be said to be determined by two bounded infinities of relevant pasts and possible futures. In my talk, it is my intent to elaborate on this view and to investigate how it might relate to other ways of thinking about infinity.