Segments in this Video

The Word and the World: Introduction (01:26)


Jonathan Derbyshire questions Philosophy Professor Paul Boghossian, Philosophy Professor Ray Monk, and novelist Joanna Kavenna about the limits of spoken language.

Ray Monk: The Pitch (02:04)

Boghossian discusses Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ideas of the limitations of the expressions of thought, but asserts the limits of language are those of society. He believes aesthetics, ethics, religion, philosophy, and logic are all inexpressible disciplines.

Paul Boghossian: The Pitch (03:31)

In opposition to Boghossian, Monk asserts the limitations of language are due to the limitations of thought; language is public not limited to personal thought. Monk states, however, experiences cannot be relayed directly to descriptions.

Joanna Kavenna: The Pitch (03:14)

Kavenna asserts everyone has physical experiences that are unexplainable through language; using the example of natural disasters as an instance which transcends language.

How is Language Limited? (14:26)

Boghossian states concepts such as colors or smells cannot be explained clearly, and even Wittgenstein focus on what cannot be expressed by language in his later philosophical writings. The panelists debated the boundaries of language and its rational capacity.

Language and Philosophy (08:10)

Philosophers typically agree the sounds of music cannot be captured by language, but Kavenna challenges this idea stating poetry is similar to musical expression. Wittgenstein states physical expressions sometimes surpass the capacity of language.

Beyond Language (14:52)

The panelists generally agree that words and language have the capacity to shape society and bring about change. Historically, Kavenna argues every person is a poet due to their desire to rise above cliches to describe life.

Credits: The Word and the World (00:10)

Credits: The Word and the World

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The power of words is a wonder, and language perhaps our greatest skill. Yet the gap between the sound of a bell and its description is huge. Are the limits to language so profound that the big questions of science and philosophy are beyond us? Or can everything be said if we try hard enough? The Panel Director of the New York Institute of Philosophy Paul Boghossian, Wittgenstein biographer and philosopher Ray Monk, and award winning novelist Joanna Kavenna debate the limits of language.

Length: 49 minutes

Item#: BVL145309

ISBN: 978-1-64198-825-4

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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