By Ilaria Gliottone
After over a hundred national and international lectures all over the world, Markus Gabriel ( 34), the youngest Professor in Modern, and Contemporary Philosophy at the University of Bonn, came to Maastricht on 28th October to give another of his incredible philosophy lectures. The event, titled “Why the world does not Exist”, organised by Studium Generale, yielded the floor to Professor Gabriel to explain his innovative theory “Why the world does not exist”.
The content of the lecture was extremely broad. Many different and difficult concepts have been proposed and analysed to explain the reasons why the world does not exist. The starting point of the discourse was Gabriel’s explanation of the concept of existence which finds its bases in the Professor’s areas of specialisation: Post-Kantian Continental Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, and areas of competence: Ancient Philosophy, Aestetics and Philosophy of Religion, eventually described as “appearance in the field of sense”. To give proofs to his theory he presented and clarified a number of concepts, for example, the concept of “proper” properties, and other philosophers’ theories, such as Kant’s regulative idea and his island of truth (Earth) that stays in the middle of the ocean of ignorance.
Moreover, the lecturer illustrated the three elements he formulated to prove his theory of non-existence: first, the “List”, second, the “Cube”, and third, the “Misplaced Concreteness”. The first argument implies the presence of God. The second case states that there is no single answer to any question because of the Conceptual Relativity and the concept of Non-Contradiction. Meanwhile, the third element involves the fallacy of misplaced concreteness which states that human knowledge is an illusion because we cannot explain everything through scientific methods, which was also one of the lecture’s main points.
Another important concept that he pointed out was neuroconstructivism: “your neurones construct what you see”, followed by to the concept of quantification, the existential quantifier and the problem of self inclusion of totality. At the end of this interesting explanation, Professor Gabriel gave a strong, astonishing suggestion which breaks down all the formulated scientific theories: “Don’t think that you can explain something through scientific explanation because that is what is putting us in trouble nowadays”.
The last 30min were dedicated to Q&A. Although time was not enough to investigate such a number of elements and theories in detail, the ones the lecture presented and the additional questions made the event worth a visit: it is always interesting to listen to new theories which might sound “alien” at the beginning, such as the non-existence of the world, but eventually they would all makes sense somehow. Of course they would all create some kind of mess and confusion in our heads that lead us to doubt about ourselves. In this way, Professor Gabriel left us with a big question mark and many doubts: does the world exist or not? Is what we see real or just a projection of our mind? What should I trust: science or my own perspective?