Limits of Intelligibility: Issues from Kant and Wittgenstein

London: Routledge (2023)
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The essays in this volume investigate the question of where, and in what sense, the bounds of intelligible thought, knowledge, and speech are to be drawn. Is there a way in which we are limited in what we think, know, and say? And if so, does this mean that we are constrained – that there is something beyond the ken of human intelligibility of which we fall short? Or is there another way to think about these limits of intelligibility – namely, as conditions of our meaning and knowing anything, beyond which there is no specifiable thing we cannot do? These issues feature prominently in the writings of Kant and Wittgenstein who each engaged with them in unique and striking ways. Their thoughts on the matter remain provocative and stimulating, and accordingly the contributions to this volume address the issues surrounding the limits of intelligibility both exegetically and systematically: they examine how they figure in Kant’s and Wittgenstein’s most significant works and put them in touch with contemporary debates that are shaped by their legacy. These debates concern, inter alia, logically and morally alien thought, the semantics and philosophy of negation, disjunctivism in philosophy of perception and ethics, paraconsistent approaches to contradiction, and the relation between art, literature, and philosophy. The book is divided into four parts: Part I gives a first assessment of the issues, Part II examines limits as they feature in Kant, Part III as they feature in Wittgenstein, and Part IV suggests some ways in which the questions at issue might be reconsidered, drawing upon ideas in phenomenology, dialetheism, metamathematics, and the works of other influential authors. Limits of Intelligibility provides insight into a theme that is central to the thought of two of the most important figures in modern philosophy, as well as to recent metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, epistemology, and ethics.

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Jens Pier
Universität Leipzig

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