Adrian Moore: A History of the Infinite

adrian moore talk


19:00 – 21:00 Beijing UTC+8 | 11:00 – 13:00 London UTC+0

on Wednesdays and Fridays, 1st / 3rd / 8th / 10th



A.W. Moore is Professor of Philosophy and Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and Tutorial Fellow of St Hugh’s College Oxford. He studied philosophy as an undergraduate at King’s College Cambridge, and did postgraduate work at Balliol College Oxford, where he obtained his doctorate under the supervision of Michael Dummett. He has held teaching and research positions at University College Oxford and King’s College Cambridge. Since 2003 he has been Bernard Williams’ literary executor. From 2014 to 2015 he was President of the Aristotelian Society. Since 2014 he has been philosophy delegate of Oxford University Press, and since 2015 he has been joint editor, with Lucy O’Brien, of MIND. He has published five books, and edited or co-edited four more. The most recent of these are, in a third edition, The Infinite (Routledge, 2019) and Language, World, and Limits: Essays in the Philosophy of Language and Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2019).

CHAIR: Sebastian Sunday Grève(王小塞), Peking University


These lectures will trace the history of thought about the infinite during the last two and a half thousand years. I shall look at the infinite in philosophical terms, in theological terms, in scientific terms, and in mathematical terms. As I hope to demonstrate, part of the importance of the topic is that, in trying to make sense of the infinite, we are also trying to make sense of ourselves. We are trying to make sense of our own experiences and our own limitations, and what these tell us about our place in the world. Always, in the background of these lectures, there will be a sense of our own finitude. Always the question will come back to how we, in our finitude, relate to what surpasses that finitude. In whatever way the history of the infinite develops, it is sure to be, as it has always been, a vital part of our own history.

Lecture 1 1st December: The Infinite in Ancient and Medieval Thought [watch live here]

Lecture 2 3rd December: The Infinite in Science and Technology [watch live here]

Lecture 3 8th December: The Infinite in Mathematics [watch live here]

Lecture 4 10th December: Human Finitude [watch live here]

Further information can be found here.