LIMITATIONS AND THE WORLD BEYOND (pages 425-454)

Patrick GRIM and Nicholas RESCHER

ABSTRACT: This paper surveys our inescapable limits as cognitive agents with regard to a full world of fact: the well-known metamathematical limits of axiomatic systems, limitations of explanation that doom a principle of sufficient reason, limitations of expression across all possible languages, and a simple but powerful argument regarding the limits of conceivability. In ways demonstrable even from within our limits, the full world of fact is inescapably beyond us. Here we propose that there must nonetheless be a totality of fact, and that despite our limits we can know something of its general character. The world as the totality of fact must form a plenum, with a radically unfamiliar formal structure that contains distinct elements corresponding to each element of its own power set.

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