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The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding

University of Glasgow

The 2001 Gifford Lectures commemorate the 550th anniversary of the founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451. In two lectures each, five scholars from various disciplines examine The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding. In Part I, cognitive psychologist Philip Johnson-Laird discusses the relationship between language and understanding. In Part II, linguist George Lakoff explores the mind-body relationship and the shaping influence of embodiment on thought, arguing for a new philosophy of ‘embodied realism’. In Part III, biologist and philosopher Michael Ruse discusses epistemology and ethics through the lens of Darwinian evolution. Philosopher Lynne Rudder Baker contrasts first-person knowledge and third-person understanding to scientific knowing in Part IV. In Part V, philosopher and theologian Brian Hebblethwaite approaches human understanding from the perspective of metaphysics and then theology, which he describes as ‘metaphysics plus revelation’. Psychologist Anthony Sanford of Glasgow University, who conceived this unique collaborative lecture series, edited the volume and composed the prefatory remarks.


The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding

T&T Clark