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Thinking the Unthinkable:

The limits of thought

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  • The Debate

    Thinking the Unthinkable

    The power of our thought has transformed the world, and some claim a theory of everything is just around the corner. Others see limits to understanding, things we cannot think. Is there a richer world that lies beyond thought, or is this an empty mysticism that leads nowhere?

    The Panel

    Oxford philosopher Simon Saunders, international bestselling author Mark Rowlands and historian of ideas Hannah Dawson attempt to say what some believe cannot be said.

  • Find out more about speakers

Jump to what you want to see in the debate
  • Simon Saunders
    The Pitch
    All is thinkable, but not all is expressible
  • Hannah Dawson
    The Pitch
    Thought exceeds language, but there are things we cannot think
  • Mark Rowlands
    The Pitch
    There are unthinkable things
  • The Debate
    Theme One
    The limits of language
  • The Debate
    Theme Two
    Can we know everything?
  • The Debate
    Theme Three
    Mapping the unthinkable
Want to learn more about our speakers?
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Yi Jiun on 22/02/2014 8:00am

I meant, infinity of the Universe, etc...

Yi Jiun on 22/02/2014 7:58am

What we have thought of is thinkable and what we have not thought of is unthinkable

What we have believed is true and what we have not believed is not true

Idea of infinity...who has proven any infinity? If it is truly infinite, then it cannot be proven

arthas on 21/02/2014 10:46am

Something that wasn't discussed by any of the panelists is the possibility of our improving our cognitive and perceptual abilities through intervention - cybernetics etc. Surely this opens up vast horizons for us to think about that which before we couldn’t.

sammy on 21/02/2014 10:10am

it is surely possibile for us to improve our capacity as individuals and a species to think about things before unavailable to us - just haivng massively more computational power fro instance - but this still tells us nothing about the theoretical limits on thouhgt - the edge of what we can gain understadning of. There might also be physical limits - 'brains' only so big can be built before thier gravity curshes the interal components, or somethin less extreme. There are no end of limits to our abilities, we just can't know what they are until we run up against them.

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