Wotton’s Society The Provost, Lord Waldegrave of North Hill, ‘Logical Dilemmas: the Limits of Logic’

The Wotton’s Society was pleased to welcome the Provost, speaking on ‘Logical Dilemmas: the Limits of Logic’.

The Provost aimed to justify the analytic tradition of Ryle and Emerson by looking at various logical dilemmas, or paradoxes. The two main ones addressed were Aristotle and the Sea Battle (which asks whether it is true to say ‘there will be a sea battle tomorrow’ given that it has not yet happened) and the Altruistic paradox (whereby, if I act altruistically I must not have wanted to otherwise it would not be altruism, but if I do so then I must have chosen to do so, so I must have wanted to on some level). The solutions proposed were based on the idea of a category mistake coming about when we use words of the wrong type for the specific situation, leading to statements which seem reasonable but are not.

The Provost’s talk was clear and engaging, and encouraged the audience to grapple with the logical problems themselves, which was borne out by the high quality of questions and points made by those present.

John Clark-Maxwell OS MS (GRP)