Remarks on Wittgenstein, Gödel, Chaitin, Incompleteness, Impossiblity and the Psychological Basis of Science and Mathematics

In Remarks on Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason in Chaitin, Wittgenstein, Hofstadter, Wolpert, Doria, da Costa, Godel, Searle, Rodych, Berto, Floyd, Moyal. Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press. pp. 24-38 (2019)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
It is commonly thought that such topics as Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason are disparate scientific physical or mathematical issues having little or nothing in common. I suggest that they are largely standard philosophical problems (i.e., language games) which were resolved by Wittgenstein over 80 years ago. Wittgenstein also demonstrated the fatal error in regarding mathematics or language or our behavior in general as a unitary coherent logical ‘system,’ rather than as a motley of pieces assembled by the random processes of natural selection. “Gödel shows us an unclarity in the concept of ‘mathematics’, which is indicated by the fact that mathematics is taken to be a system” and we can say (contra nearly everyone) that is all that Gödel and Chaitin show. Wittgenstein commented many times that ‘truth’ in math means axioms or the theorems derived from axioms, and ‘false’ means that one made a mistake in using the definitions, and this is utterly different from empirical matters where one applies a test. Wittgenstein often noted that to be acceptable as mathematics in the usual sense, it must be useable in other proofs and it must have real world applications, but neither is the case with Godel’s Incompleteness. Since it cannot be proved in a consistent system (here Peano Arithmetic but a much wider arena for Chaitin), it cannot be used in proofs and, unlike all the ‘rest’ of PA it cannot be used in the real world either. As Rodych notes “…Wittgenstein holds that a formal calculus is only a mathematical calculus (i.e., a mathematical language-game) if it has an extra- systemic application in a system of contingent propositions (e.g., in ordinary counting and measuring or in physics) …” Another way to say this is that one needs a warrant to apply our normal use of words like ‘proof’, ‘proposition’, ‘true’, ‘incomplete’, ‘number’, and ‘mathematics’ to a result in the tangle of games created with ‘numbers’ and ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ signs etc., and with ‘Incompleteness’ this warrant is lacking. Rodych sums it up admirably. “On Wittgenstein’s account, there is no such thing as an incomplete mathematical calculus because ‘in mathematics, everything is algorithm [and syntax] and nothing is meaning [semantics]…” I make some brief remarks which note the similarities of these ‘mathematical’ issues to economics, physics, game theory, and decision theory. Those wishing further comments on philosophy and science from a Wittgensteinian two systems of thought viewpoint may consult my other writings -- Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle 2nd ed (2019), Suicide by Democracy 4th ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), The Logical Structure of Consciousness (2019, Understanding the Connections between Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Politics, and Economics and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 5th ed (2019), Remarks on Impossibility, Incompleteness, Paraconsistency, Undecidability, Randomness, Computability, Paradox, Uncertainty and the Limits of Reason in Chaitin, Wittgenstein, Hofstadter, Wolpert, Doria, da Costa, Godel, Searle, Rodych, Berto, Floyd, Moyal-Sharrock and Yanofsky (2019), and The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Religion, Politics, Economics, Literature and History (2019).
PhilPapers/Archive ID
STAROW-15
Revision history
Archival date: 2019-08-16
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2019-08-16

Total views
55 ( #35,586 of 44,304 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
55 ( #12,902 of 44,304 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.