TEDxBrainport talk on the limits of logic

On Friday, May 13th, I’ll be giving a talk at the TEDxBrainport event in Eindhoven, a locally organized part of the famous TED series. In there, I will be discussing some of my latest thoughts on logic and ontology – that is, on the nature of our thoughts, truth, and reality – as elaborated upon in my third, upcoming book Meaning in Absurdity (to be published by IFF towards the end of 2011 or early in 2012). The key idea I will explore in my talk is the scope of logic in our ongoing efforts to make sense of nature and of ourselves. We tend to think that, through logical and rational inquiry, we can and will eventually uncover all the mysteries of nature and of being. But that thought rests on an unjustified assumption – namely, that the limits of logic and rationality are at least coextensive with the boundaries of reality. In other words, we must assume that all reality is amenable to logic, as if logic were a somewhat omnipotent intellectual tool.

Yet we know since the time of Agrippa and his famous Trilemma that one cannot use logic to justify the validity of logic itself. Therefore, for all we know, the entire edifice of our rationality may rest on a shaky foundation of intuition alone. As it turns out, recent experiments in physics even suggest that the core foundation of our logic, the correspondence theory of truth, has no grounding whatsoever in empirical reality. So here is the question I want to ask in my talk: In order to make sense of reality and of our condition in it, do we need to transcend our current logic and rationality?

Copyright © 2011 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.


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