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Language and the limits of reason

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The Outer Limits of Reason From computer science prof Noson S. Yanofsky at Nautilus:

Rather than jumping headfirst into the limitations of reason, let us start by just getting our toes wet and examining the limitations of language. Language is a tool used to describe the world in which we live. However, don’t confuse the map with the territory! There is one major difference between the world we live in and language: Whereas the real world is free of contradictions, the man-made linguistic descriptions of that world can have contradictions. More.

And yet, despite the paradoxes, language has enabled us to make sense of the world, more or less.

See also: Can we talk? Language as the business end of consciousness

and

Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us (no)

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One Reply to “Language and the limits of reason

  1. 1
    EDTA says:

    Not touched upon in the quoted summary (and probably not in this book at all) is the fact that if there is indeed a higher Being, then it must be the case that there are facts/realities that human language cannot even express.

    One implication of that is the fact that the Bible must therefore be a dumbed-down (fur us humans) version of what really goes on. What we read in English (originally Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek of course) is just the tip of the iceberg–a 2-D version of a 3-D reality, a necessary simplification of how things really are.

    Therefore, when skeptics find supposed contradictions in the very idea of God, or in theology, etc., I think it must be like a 3-year old arguing with an adult: the 3-year old simply does not grasp even a fraction of what is really the case.

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