Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world's leading thinkers

Thinking the Unthinkable:

The limits of thought

Welcome to iai tv. You are limited to 20 minutes of video a month without signing up. X
Membership is completely free, and gives you unlimited access to our videos, articles, courses and much more
Already a member?
You have used half of your monthly limit of videos. Sign up to continue watching. X
Membership is completely free, and gives you unlimited access to our videos, articles, courses and much more
Already a member?
You’ve reached your monthly video limit.

Want to see more?

Sign up to continue watching. Membership is completely free, and gives you unlimited access to our videos, articles, courses and much more.
Already a member? .
IAI TV videos are for personal use only. For commercial or educational licensing please contact TVF International
  • 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?
Join the conversation

to post comments or join now (only takes a moment). Don't have an account? Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Google to get started:

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.

Copy and paste the code below to embed or link to this video.

Embed options
  • Video Seek
    Converted to a link which jumps to that point in the video
    Example: 00:34
  • Bold Text
    Example: [b]Bold[/b]
  • Italic Text
    Example: [i]Italics[/i]
  • Underlined Text
    Example: [u]Underlined[/u]
  • Website link
    Link to another website or URL
    Example: [url][/url]

Rate this talk with three clicks. You can choose 3 words, or vote for the same word 3 times.

Why sign up for the iai?
  • Discover new ideas
    Free and unlimited access to hundreds of hours of debates, talks and articles from the world's leading minds, as well as courses that rival top academic institutions.
  • Have your say
    Join the iai community and engage in conversation and debate around the issues that matter.
  • Hear it first
    Be the first to hear about our video releases, articles and tickets to our upcoming events.
Sign me up