Beyond the Limits of Thought by Graham Priest

Graham Priest ( (born 1948) is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center (, as well as a regular visitor at the University of Melbourne where he was Boyce Gibson Professor of Philosophy and also at St. Andrews University. He was educated at Cambridge and the London School of Economics. His publishing record in philosophy is prodigious.

In Beyond the Limits of Thought Priest presents a new, expanded edition of his highly original exploration of the nature and limits of thought. Drawing on recent developments in the field of logic, he shows that the description of such limits leads to contradiction, and argues that these contradictions are in fact true. Beginning with an analysis of the way in which these limits arise in pre-Kantian philosophy, Priest goes on to illustrate how the nature of these limits was theorized by Kant and Hegel.

Priest offers new interpretations of Berkeley’s master argument for idealism and Kant on the antinomies. He explores the paradoxes of self-reference, and provides a unified account of the structure of such paradoxes. The book goes on to trace the theme of the limits of thought in modern philosophy of language, including discussions of the ideas of Wittgenstein and Derrida. This second edition includes new chapters on Heidegger and Nagarjuna, as well as reflections on reactions to the first edition. This clear, provocative, and systematic work offers a radically different approach to philosophy and logic. If you’ve ever had the intuition that language and thought are a kind of prisoner’s cage inside which we are trapped – this is the book for you.

Paradoxically, of course, you’ll have to read language to gain the realisation. The first step would be to enquire at your local library. For full bibliographic detail consult

Listen to Graham Priest in a 15 minute discussion with Nigel Warburton in an episode of ‘Philosophy Bites’ He discusses the Buddhist tradition in philosophy, from which he derives many of his insights. Available as a podcast here

336 pages in Oxford University Press

Second revised edition published 1995

ISBN 978-0199244218

Professor Graham Priest

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