9 Jan 2009

Limit versus Boundary according to Prof. Martin Moors of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

by Corry Shores
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[The following is based on student notes.]

Within its very self, metaphysics discovers its own limits. It encounters its own finite limitations, but we must distinguish limits from boundaries.

Limit (German: die Grenze)

Limit is taken positively, because it implicitly or indirectly expresses what lies across it. Consider that for Kant, our rational understanding finds itself limited within the world of appearances. But "phenomena" is a term implying or pointing-to what lies beyond it, namely the thing-in-itself or noumenal world, which is not knowable from within our system of categories. Thus metaphysics or reason is limited within the realm of appearances, which nonetheless is positively linked with what abuts it. We cannot know what lies beyond the limit, but we can think about it.

Thus overcoming is limitation's dynamic.

Boundary (German: die Schranke)

Boundary is regarded negatively, because bounded things are isolated unto themselves. They do not refer to what lies beside them. They self-enclose. A boundary lacks reference to anything but itself, and for that reason is deficient or negative.

Reason or metaphysics self-renews and historicizes by discovering and overcoming its internal limits. Hence criticism does not keep its topic bound, but rather opens its limits to something else besides it.

[Taken from the first lecture of Professor Martin Moors Philosophy of Being 2008 course: "From Mythos to Logos - From Logos to Mythos," at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Professor Moors is not just a remarkably gifted instructor, he is as well a renowned metaphysician and Kant scholar. His publication list is available here.

The ideas I here present are not my property, but belong to Prof. Moors. A suggested citation:

Moors, Martin. "From Mythos to Logos - From Logos to Mythos: Class 1." Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. 25-Sept-2008.]

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