Textbook on Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and computability theory, based on the Open Logic Project. Covers recursive function theory, arithmetization of syntax, the first and second incompleteness theorem, models of arithmetic, second-order logic, and the lambda calculus.
This paper offers a unified, quantificational treatment of incomplete descriptions like ‘the table’. An incomplete quantified expression like ‘every bottle’ (as in “Every bottle is empty”) can feature in true utterances despite the fact that the world contains nonempty bottles. Positing a contextual restriction on the bottles being talked about is a straightforward solution. It is argued that the same strategy can be extended to incomplete definite descriptions across the board. ncorporating the contextual restrictions into semantics involves meeting a complex (...) array of desiderata, yet the apparently simpler pragmatic alternative faces severe problems and is therefore a nonstarter. (shrink)
*Note that this project is now being developed in joint work with Rich Woodward* -/- Some things are left open by a work of fiction. What colour were the hero’s eyes? How many hairs are on her head? Did the hero get shot in the final scene, or did the jailor complete his journey to redemption and shoot into the air? Are the ghosts that appear real, or a delusion? Where fictions are open or incomplete in this way, we can (...) ask what attitudes it’s appropriate (or permissible) to take to the propositions in question, in engaging with the fiction. In Mimesis as Make-Believe (henceforth, MMB), Walton argues that just as truth norms belief, truth-in-fiction norms imagination. Granting that what is true-in-the-fiction should be imagined, and what is false-in-the-fiction is not to be imagined, there remains the question of what to say within the Waltonian framework about things that are neither true- nor false-in-the-fiction---the loci of incompleteness. (shrink)
What is the best way to make sustained societal progress over time? Non-ideal theory done on its own faces the problem of second best, but ideal theory seems unable to cope with disagreement about how to make progress. If ideal theory gives up its claims to completeness, then we can use the method of incompletely theorized agreements to make progress over time.
In this paper I offer a defence of a Russellian analysis of the referential uses of incomplete (mis)descriptions, in a contextual setting. With regard to the debate between a unificationist and an ambiguity approach to the formal treatment of definite descriptions (introduction), I will support the former against the latter. In 1. I explain what I mean by "essentially" incomplete descriptions: incomplete descriptions are context dependent descriptions. In 2. I examine one of the best versions of the unificationist “explicit” approach (...) given by Buchanan and Ostertag. I then show that this proposal seems unable to treat the normal uses of misdescriptions. I then accept the challenge of treating misdescriptions as a key to solving the problem of context dependent descriptions. In 3. I briefly discuss Michael Devitt’s and Joseph Almog’s treatments of referential descriptions, showing that they find it difficult to explain misdescriptions. In 4. I suggest an alternative approach to DD as contextuals, under a normative epistemic stance. Definite descriptions express (i) what a speaker should have in mind in using certain words in a certain context and (ii) what a normal speaker is justified in saying in a context, given a common basic knowledge of the lexicon. In 5. I define a procedure running on contextual parameters (partiality, perspective and approximation) as a means of representing the role of pragmatics as a filter for semantic interpretation. In 6. I defend my procedural approach against possible objections concerning the problem of the boundaries between semantics and pragmatics, relying on the distinction between semantics and theory of meaning. (shrink)
John Rawls’s use of the “fully cooperating assumption” has been criticized for hindering attempts to address the needs of disabled individuals, or non-cooperators. In response, philosophers sympathetic to Rawls’s project have extended his theory. I assess one such extension by Cynthia Stark, that proposes dropping Rawls’s assumption in the constitutional stage (of his four-stage sequence), and address the needs of non-cooperators via the social minimum. I defend Stark’s proposal against criticisms by Sophia Wong, Christie Hartley, and Elizabeth Edenberg and Marilyn (...) Friedman. Nevertheless, I argue that Stark’s proposal is crucially incomplete. Her formulation of the social minimum lacks accompanying criteria with which the adequacy of the provisions for non-cooperators may be assessed. Despite initial appearances, Stark’s proposal does not fully address the needs of non-cooperators. I conclude by considering two payoffs of identifying this lack of criteria. (shrink)
We argue that Wittgenstein’s philosophical perspective on Gödel’s most famous theorem is even more radical than has commonly been assumed. Wittgenstein shows in detail that there is no way that the Gödelian construct of a string of signs could be assigned a useful function within (ordinary) mathematics. — The focus is on Appendix III to Part I of Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. The present reading highlights the exceptional importance of this particular set of remarks and, more specifically, emphasises (...) its refined composition and rigorous internal structure. (shrink)
Luck egalitarianism makes a fundamental distinction between inequalities for which agents are responsible and inequalities stemming from luck. I give several reasons to find luck egalitarianism a compelling view of distributive justice. I then argue that it is an incomplete theory of equality. Luck egalitarianism lacks the normative resources to achieve its ends. It is unable to specify the prior conditions under which persons are situated equivalently such that their choices can bear this tremendous weight. This means that luck egalitarians (...) need to become pluralists who understand equality not merely in terms of choice, luck, and responsibility. After developing my critical argument that luck egalitarianism is incomplete, I sketch a strategy for rehabilitating and filling out the theory. (shrink)
Robert M. Adams claims that Leibniz’s rehabilitation of the doctrine of incomplete entities is the most sustained effort to integrate a theory of corporeal substances into the theory of simple substances. I discuss alternative interpretations of the theory of incomplete entities suggested by Marleen Rozemond and Pauline Phemister. Against Rozemond, I argue that the scholastic doctrine of incomplete entities is not dependent on a hylomorphic analysis of corporeal substances, and therefore can be adapted by Leibniz. Against Phemister, I claim that (...) Leibniz did not reduce the passivity of corporeal substances to modifications of passive aspects of simple substances. Against Adams, I argue that Leibniz’s theory of the incompleteness of the mind cannot be understood adequately without understanding the reasons for his assertion that matter is incomplete without minds. Composite substances are seen as requisites for the reality of the material world, and therefore cannot be eliminated from Leibniz’s metaphysics. (shrink)
In this paper, I present the case of the discovery of complex numbers by Girolamo Cardano. Cardano acquires the concepts of (specific) complex numbers, complex addition, and complex multiplication. His understanding of these concepts is incomplete. I show that his acquisition of these concepts cannot be explained on the basis of Christopher Peacocke’s Conceptual Role Theory of concept possession. I argue that Strong Conceptual Role Theories that are committed to specifying a set of transitions that is both necessary and sufficient (...) for possession of mathematical concepts will always face counterexamples of the kind illustrated by Cardano. I close by suggesting that we should rely more heavily on resources of Anti-Individualism as a framework for understanding the acquisition and possession of concepts of abstract subject matters. (shrink)
A teaching document I've used in my courses on truth and on incompleteness. Aimed at students who have a good grasp of basic logic, and decent math skills, it attempts to give them the background they need to understand a proper statement of the classic results due to Gödel and Tarski, and sketches their proofs. Topics covered include the notions of language and theory, the basics of formal syntax and arithmetization, formal arithmetic (Q and PA), representability, diagonalization, and the (...)incompleteness and undefinability theorems. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to comprehensively question the validity of the standard way of interpreting Chaitin's famous incompleteness theorem, which says that for every formalized theory of arithmetic there is a finite constant c such that the theory in question cannot prove any particular number to have Kolmogorov complexity larger than c. The received interpretation of theorem claims that the limiting constant is determined by the complexity of the theory itself, which is assumed to be good measure (...) of the strength of the theory. I exhibit certain strong counterexamples and establish conclusively that the received view is false. Moreover, I show that the limiting constants provided by the theorem do not in any way reflect the power of formalized theories, but that the values of these constants are actually determined by the chosen coding of Turing machines, and are thus quite accidental. (shrink)
The notion of comparative probability defined in Bayesian subjectivist theory stems from an intuitive idea that, for a given pair of events, one event may be considered “more probable” than the other. Yet it is conceivable that there are cases where it is indeterminate as to which event is more probable, due to, e.g., lack of robust statistical information. We take that these cases involve indeterminate comparative probabilities. This paper provides a Savage-style decision-theoretic foundation for indeterminate comparative probabilities.
It is shown that the infinite-valued first-order Gödel logic G° based on the set of truth values {1/k: k ε w {0}} U {0} is not r.e. The logic G° is the same as that obtained from the Kripke semantics for first-order intuitionistic logic with constant domains and where the order structure of the model is linear. From this, the unaxiomatizability of Kröger's temporal logic of programs (even of the fragment without the nexttime operator O) and of the authors' temporal (...) logic of linear discrete time with gaps follows. (shrink)
A reality may be defined incompletely as a perpetuating pattern of relations. This definition denies the name of reality to an utter and totalistic patternlessness, like a primal patternless stuff, because a patternless all-ness would be indistinguishable from a patternless nothingness. If reality began from a chaos or patternless stuff, it became a reality only when it became patterned. If there are orders of reality with perpetuating relations between them, as in Cartesian interactive substance dualism, the definition allows us to (...) say that these orders belong to a common reality by virtue of those relations. However, the definition is silent on the question of whether reality is ultimately pluralistic. Some suggestions are made about the possibility of stuffless patterns, including those of the physical world, but the definition is not dependent on the possibility of stufflessness. (shrink)
This chapter describes Kurt Gödel's paper on the incompleteness theorems. Gödel's incompleteness results are two of the most fundamental and important contributions to logic and the foundations of mathematics. It had been assumed that first-order number theory is complete in the sense that any sentence in the language of number theory would be either provable from the axioms or refutable. Gödel's first incompleteness theorem showed that this assumption was false: it states that there are sentences of number (...) theory that are neither provable nor refutable. The first theorem is general in the sense that it applies to any axiomatic theory, which is ω-consistent, has an effective proof procedure, and is strong enough to represent basic arithmetic. Their importance lies in their generality: although proved specifically for extensions of system, the method Gödel used is applicable in a wide variety of circumstances. Gödel's results had a profound influence on the further development of the foundations of mathematics. It pointed the way to a reconceptualization of the view of axiomatic foundations. (shrink)
Susan Stebbing’s work on incomplete symbols and analysis was instrumental in clarifying, sharpening, and improving the project of logical constructions which was pivotal to early analytic philosophy. She dispelled use-mention confusions by restricting the term ‘incomplete symbol’ to expressions eliminable through analysis, rather than those expressions’ purported referents, and distinguished linguistic analysis from analysis of facts. In this paper I explore Stebbing’s role in analytic philosophy’s development from anti-holism, presupposing that analysis terminates in simples, to the more holist or foundherentist (...) analytic philosophy of the later 20th century. I read Stebbing as a transitional figure who made room for more holist analytic movements, e.g., applications of incomplete symbol theory to Quinean ontological commitment. Stebbing, I argue, is part of a historical narrative which starts with the holism of Bradley, an early influence on her, to which Moore and Russell’s logical analysis was a response. They countered Bradley’s holist reservations about facts with the view that the world is built up out of individually knowable simples. Stebbing, a more subtle and sympathetic reader of the British idealists, defends analysis, but with important refinements and caveats which prepared the way for a return to foundherentism and holism within analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The determinism-free will debate is perhaps as old as philosophy itself and has been engaged in from a great variety of points of view including those of scientific, theological, and logical character. This chapter focuses on two arguments from logic. First, there is an argument in support of determinism that dates back to Aristotle, if not farther. It rests on acceptance of the Law of Excluded Middle, according to which every proposition is either true or false, no matter whether the (...) proposition is about the past, present or future. In particular, the argument goes, whatever one does or does not do in the future is determined in the present by the truth or falsity of the corresponding proposition. The second argument coming from logic is much more modern and appeals to Gödel's incompleteness theorems to make the case against determinism and in favour of free will, insofar as that applies to the mathematical potentialities of human beings. The claim more precisely is that as a consequence of the incompleteness theorems, those potentialities cannot be exactly circumscribed by the output of any computing machine even allowing unlimited time and space for its work. The chapter concludes with some new considerations that may be in favour of a partial mechanist account of the mathematical mind. (shrink)
Within the (Haskell Curry) notion of a formal system we complete Tarski's formal correctness: ∀x True(x) ↔ ⊢ x and use this finally formalized notion of Truth to refute his own Undefinability Theorem (based on the Liar Paradox), the Liar Paradox, and the (Panu Raatikainen) essence of the conclusion of the 1931 Incompleteness Theorem.
To eliminate incompleteness, undecidability and inconsistency from formal systems we only need to convert the formal proofs to theorem consequences of symbolic logic to conform to the sound deductive inference model. -/- Within the sound deductive inference model there is a (connected sequence of valid deductions from true premises to a true conclusion) thus unlike the formal proofs of symbolic logic provability cannot diverge from truth.
Those incompleteness theorems mean the relation of (Peano) arithmetic and (ZFC) set theory, or philosophically, the relation of arithmetical finiteness and actual infinity. The same is managed in the framework of set theory by the axiom of choice (respectively, by the equivalent well-ordering "theorem'). One may discuss that incompleteness form the viewpoint of set theory by the axiom of choice rather than the usual viewpoint meant in the proof of theorems. The logical corollaries from that "nonstandard" viewpoint the (...) relation of set theory and arithmetic are demonstrated. (shrink)
This article examines some aspects of the natural philosophy of Juan Gallego de la Serna, royal physician to the Spanish kings Philip III and Philip IV. In his account of animal generation, Gallego criticizes widely accepted views: (1) the view that animal seeds are animated, and (2) the alternative view that animal seeds, even if not animated, possess active potencies sufficient for the development of animal souls. According to his view, animal seeds are purely material beings. This, of course, raises (...) the question of how living beings can arise from inanimate matter. Gallego is aware that two other thinkers who understood animal seeds as purely material beings, Duns Scotus and the Louvain-based physician Thomas Feyens, did not solve this problem. Gallego’s solution makes use of the notion of incomplete entities developed by the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Suarez. While Suarez applies this notion to soul and body in order to explain why souls have a natural tendency towards organic bodies and organic bodies have a natural tendency towards souls, Gallego applies this notion to the natural tendency of animal seeds towards each other and towards further substances in their respective environment. In his view, this natural tendency of animal seeds to incorporate further substances explains that origin of material structures complex enough to constitute an animal soul. (shrink)
We can simply define Gödel 1931 Incompleteness away by redefining the meaning of the standard definition of Incompleteness: A theory T is incomplete if and only if there is some sentence φ such that (T ⊬ φ) and (T ⊬ ¬φ). This definition construes the existence of self-contradictory expressions in a formal system as proof that this formal system is incomplete because self-contradictory expressions are neither provable nor disprovable in this formal system. Since self-contradictory expressions are neither provable (...) nor disprovable only because they are self-contradictory we could define them as unsound instead of defining the formal system as incomplete. (shrink)
If what we want from moral inquiry were the obtainment of objective moral truths, as moral realism claims it is, then there would be nothing morally unsatisfactory or lacking in a situation, in which we somehow had access to all moral truths, and were fundamentally finished with morality. In fact, that seems to be the realists’ conception of moral heaven. In this essay, however, I argue that some sort of moral wakefulness – that is, always paying attention to the subtleties (...) of life and people, and never taking for granted what their moral significance can possibly be – is an essential moral value, and, therefore, moral realism, which promotes a moral ideal that allows such moral lethargy and inattentiveness is morally objectionable. (shrink)
I have read many recent discussions of the limits of computation and the universe as computer, hoping to find some comments on the amazing work of polymath physicist and decision theorist David Wolpert but have not found a single citation and so I present this very brief summary. Wolpert proved some stunning impossibility or incompleteness theorems (1992 to 2008-see arxiv.org) on the limits to inference (computation) that are so general they are independent of the device doing the computation, and (...) even independent of the laws of physics, so they apply across computers, physics, and human behavior. They make use of Cantor's diagonalization, the liar paradox and worldlines to provide what may be the ultimate theorem in Turing Machine Theory, and seemingly provide insights into impossibility,incompleteness, the limits of computation,and the universe as computer, in all possible universes and all beings or mechanisms, generating, among other things,a non-quantum mechanical uncertainty principle and a proof of monotheism. (shrink)
Let’s suppose all the rules of physics will change, but, before the change, we finally figured out everything there was to be figured out about physics. This means that we achieved pragmatic completeness at that point. It’s not a universal Platonic completeness, but everything there was to be expressed about the physics at that moment was expressed.
On the heels of Franzén's fine technical exposition of Gödel's incompleteness theorems and related topics (Franzén 2004) comes this survey of the incompleteness theorems aimed at a general audience. Gödel's Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to its Use and Abuse is an extended and self-contained exposition of the incompleteness theorems and a discussion of what informal consequences can, and in particular cannot, be drawn from them.
Classical interpretations of Goedels formal reasoning, and of his conclusions, implicitly imply that mathematical languages are essentially incomplete, in the sense that the truth of some arithmetical propositions of any formal mathematical language, under any interpretation, is, both, non-algorithmic, and essentially unverifiable. However, a language of general, scientific, discourse, which intends to mathematically express, and unambiguously communicate, intuitive concepts that correspond to scientific investigations, cannot allow its mathematical propositions to be interpreted ambiguously. Such a language must, therefore, define mathematical truth (...) verifiably. We consider a constructive interpretation of classical, Tarskian, truth, and of Goedel's reasoning, under which any formal system of Peano Arithmetic---classically accepted as the foundation of all our mathematical Languages---is verifiably complete in the above sense. We show how some paradoxical concepts of Quantum mechanics can, then, be expressed, and interpreted, naturally under a constructive definition of mathematical truth. (shrink)
Orthodox decision theory gives no advice to agents who hold two goods to be incommensurate in value because such agents will have incomplete preferences. According to standard treatments, rationality requires complete preferences, so such agents are irrational. Experience shows, however, that incomplete preferences are ubiquitous in ordinary life. In this paper, we aim to do two things: (1) show that there is a good case for revising decision theory so as to allow it to apply non-vacuously to agents with incomplete (...) preferences, and (2) to identify one substantive criterion that any such non-standard decision theory must obey. Our criterion, Competitiveness, is a weaker version of a dominance principle. Despite its modesty, Competitiveness is incompatible with prospectism, a recently developed decision theory for agents with incomplete preferences. We spend the final part of the paper showing why Competitiveness should be retained, and prospectism rejected. (shrink)
According to indexical contextualism, the perspectival element of taste predicates and epistemic modals is part of the content expressed. According to nonindexicalism, the perspectival element must be conceived as a parameter in the circumstance of evaluation, which engenders “thin” or perspective-neutral semantic contents. Echoing Evans, thin contents have frequently been criticized. It is doubtful whether such coarse-grained quasi-propositions can do any meaningful work as objects of propositional attitudes. In this paper, I assess recent responses by Recanati, Kölbel, Lasersohn and MacFarlane (...) to the “incompleteness worry”. None of them manages to convince. Particular attention is devoted to an argument by John MacFarlane, which states that if perspectives must be part of the content, so must worlds, which would make intuitively contingent propositions necessary. I demonstrate that this attempt to defend thin content views such as nonindexical contextualism and relativism conflates two distinct notions of necessity, and that radical indexicalist accounts of semantics, such as Schaffer’s necessitarianism, are in fact quite plausible. (shrink)
It is often thought that acquiring a phenomenal concept requires having the relevant sort of experience. In "Extending Phenomenal Concepts", Andreas Elpidorou defends this position from an objection raised by Michael Tye (in "Consciousness Revisited: Materialism without Phenomenal Concepts"). Here, I argue that Elpidorou fails to attend to important supporting materials introduced by Tye.
The present first part about the eventual completeness of mathematics (called “Hilbert mathematics”) is concentrated on the Gödel incompleteness (1931) statement: if it is an axiom rather than a theorem inferable from the axioms of (Peano) arithmetic, (ZFC) set theory, and propositional logic, this would pioneer the pathway to Hilbert mathematics. One of the main arguments that it is an axiom consists in the direct contradiction of the axiom of induction in arithmetic and the axiom of infinity in set (...) theory. Thus, the pair of arithmetic and set are to be similar to Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries distinguishably only by the Fifth postulate now, i.e. after replacing it and its negation correspondingly by the axiom of finiteness (induction) versus that of finiteness being idempotent negations to each other. Indeed, the axiom of choice, as far as it is equivalent to the well-ordering “theorem”, transforms any set in a well-ordering either necessarily finite according to the axiom of induction or also optionally infinite according to the axiom of infinity. So, the Gödel incompleteness statement relies on the logical contradiction of the axiom of induction and the axiom of infinity in the final analysis. Nonetheless, both can be considered as two idempotent versions of the same axiom (analogically to the Fifth postulate) and then unified after logicism and its inherent intensionality since the opposition of finiteness and infinity can be only extensional (i.e., relevant to the elements of any set rather than to the set by itself or its characteristic property being a proposition). So, the pathway for interpreting the Gödel incompleteness statement as an axiom and the originating from that assumption for “Hilbert mathematics” accepting its negation is pioneered. A much wider context relevant to realizing the Gödel incompleteness statement as a metamathematical axiom is consistently built step by step. The horizon of Hilbert mathematics is the proper subject in the third part of the paper, and a reinterpretation of Gödel’s papers (1930; 1931) as an apology of logicism as the only consistent foundations of mathematics is the topic of the next second part. (shrink)
We investigate a speci c model of knowledge and beliefs and their dynamics. The model is inspired by public announcement logic and the approach to puzzles concerning knowledge using that logic. In the model epistemic considerations are based on ontology. The main notion that constitutes a bridge between these two disciplines is the notion of epistemic capacities. Within the model we study scenarios in which agents can receive false announcements and can have incomplete or improper views about other agent's epistemic (...) capacities. Moreover, we try to express the description of problem speci cation using the tools from applied ontology { RDF format for information and the Protege editor. (shrink)
Thomas Aquinas consistently defended the thesis that the separated rational soul that results from a human person’s death is not a person. Nevertheless, what has emerged in recent decades is a sophisticated disputed question between “survivalists” and “corruptionists” concerning the personhood of the separated soul that has left us with intractable disagreements wherein neither side seems able to convince the other. In our contribution to this disputed question, we present a digest of an unconsidered middle way: the separated soul is (...) an incomplete person. (shrink)
A resolution to the Russell Paradox is presented that is similar to Russell's “theory of types” method but is instead based on the definition of why a thing exists as described in previous work by this author. In that work, it was proposed that a thing exists if it is a grouping tying "stuff" together into a new unit whole. In tying stuff together, this grouping defines what is contained within the new existent entity. A corollary is that a thing, (...) such as a set, does not exist until after the stuff is tied together, or said another way, until what is contained within is completely defined. A second corollary is that after a grouping defining what is contained within is present and the thing exists, if one then alters what is tied together (e.g., alters what is contained within), the first existent entity is destroyed and a different existent entity is created. A third corollary is that a thing exists only where and when its grouping exists. Based on this, the Russell Paradox's set R of all sets that aren't members of themselves does not even exist until after the list of the elements it contains (e.g. the list of all sets that aren't members of themselves) is defined. Once this list of elements is completely defined, R then springs into existence. Therefore, because it doesn't exist until after its list of elements is defined, R obviously can't be in this list of elements and, thus, cannot be a member of itself; so, the paradox is resolved. This same type of reasoning is then applied to Godel's first Incompleteness Theorem. Briefly, while writing a Godel Sentence, one makes reference to a future, not yet completed and not yet existent sentence, G, that claims its unprovability. However, only once the sentence is finished does it become a new unit whole and existent entity called sentence G. If one then goes back in and replaces the reference to the future sentence with the future sentence itself, a totally different sentence, G1, is created. This new sentence G1 does not assert its unprovability. An objection might be that all the possibly infinite number of possible G-type sentences or their corresponding Godel numbers already exist somehow, so one doesn't have to worry about references to future sentences and springing into existence. But, if so, where do they exist? If they exist in a Platonic realm, where is this realm? If they exist pre-formed in the mind, this would seem to require a possibly infinite-sized brain to hold all these sentences. This is not the case. What does exist in the mind is the system for creating G-type sentences and their corresponding numbers. This mental system for making a G-type sentence is not the same as the G-type sentence itself just as an assembly line is not the same as a finished car. In conclusion, a new resolution of the Russell Paradox and some issues with proofs of Godel's First Incompleteness Theorem are described. (shrink)
Fukuyama's 'The End of History' has referred to Kojeve's 'homogenous state' as some sort of conceptual container for the evolving idea of liberal democracy. This paper critically re-assess the homogeneity of state as final stage of liberal idea and defends civil society in terms of democratic governance. It also invites to discuss the role of scholars as public intellectuals and repels the ideological abuse of the scientific method.
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). (shrink)
In spite of the many efforts made to clarify von Neumann’s methodology of science, one crucial point seems to have been disregarded in recent literature: his closeness to Hilbert’s spirit. In this paper I shall claim that the scientific methodology adopted by von Neumann in his later foundational reflections originates in the attempt to revaluate Hilbert’s axiomatics in the light of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. Indeed, axiomatics continues to be pursued by the Hungarian mathematician in the spirit of Hilbert’s school. (...) I shall argue this point by examining four basic ideas embraced by von Neumann in his foundational considerations: a) the conservative attitude to assume in mathematics; b) the role that mathematics and the axiomatic approach have to play in all that is science; c) the notion of success as an alternative methodological criterion to follow in scientific research; d) the empirical and, at the same time, abstract nature of mathematical thought. Once these four basic ideas have been accepted, Hilbert’s spirit in von Neumann’s methodology of science will become clear. (shrink)
I have read many recent discussions of the limits of computation and the universe as computer, hoping to find some comments on the amazing work of polymath physicist and decision theorist David Wolpert but have not found a single citation and so I present this very brief summary. Wolpert proved some stunning impossibility or incompleteness theorems (1992 to 2008-see arxiv dot org) on the limits to inference (computation) that are so general they are independent of the device doing the (...) computation, and even independent of the laws of physics, so they apply across computers, physics, and human behavior. They make use of Cantor's diagonalization, the liar paradox and worldlines to provide what may be the ultimate theorem in Turing Machine Theory, and seemingly provide insights into impossibility, incompleteness, the limits of computation, and the universe as computer, in all possible universes and all beings or mechanisms, generating, among other things, a non- quantum mechanical uncertainty principle and a proof of monotheism. There are obvious connections to the classic work of Chaitin, Solomonoff, Komolgarov and Wittgenstein and to the notion that no program (and thus no device) can generate a sequence (or device) with greater complexity than it possesses. One might say this body of work implies atheism since there cannot be any entity more complex than the physical universe and from the Wittgensteinian viewpoint, ‘more complex’ is meaningless (has no conditions of satisfaction, i.e., truth-maker or test). Even a ‘God’ (i.e., a ‘device’with limitless time/space and energy) cannot determine whether a given ‘number’ is ‘random’, nor find a certain way to show that a given ‘formula’, ‘theorem’ or ‘sentence’ or ‘device’ (all these being complex language games) is part of a particular ‘system’. -/- Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 2nd ed (2019) and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019) . (shrink)
Ignited by Einstein and Bohr a century ago, the philosophical struggle about Reality is yet unfinished, with no signs of a swift resolution. Despite vast technological progress fueled by the iconic EPR paper (EPR), the intricate link between ontic and epistemic aspects of Quantum Theory (QT) has greatly hindered our grip on Reality and further progress in physical theory. Fallacies concealed by tortuous logical negations made EPR comprehension much harder than it could have been had Einstein written it himself in (...) German. It is plagued with preconceptions about what a physical property is, the 'Uncertainty Principle', and the Principle of Locality. Numerous interpretations of QT vis à vis Reality exist and are keenly disputed. This is the first of a series of articles arguing for a physical interpretation called ‘The Ontic Probability Interpretation’ (TOPI). A gradual explanation of TOPI is given intertwined with a meticulous logico-philosophical scrutiny of EPR. Part I focuses on the meaning of Einstein’s ‘Incompleteness’ claim. A conceptual confusion, a preconception about Reality, and a flawed dichotomy are shown to be severe obstacles for the EPR argument to succeed. Part II analyzes Einstein’s ‘Incompleteness/Nonlocality Dilemma’. Future articles will further explain TOPI, demonstrating its soundness and potential for nurturing theoretical progress. (shrink)
Two strategies to infinity are equally relevant for it is as universal and thus complete as open and thus incomplete. Quantum mechanics is forced to introduce infinity implicitly by Hilbert space, on which is founded its formalism. One can demonstrate that essential properties of quantum information, entanglement, and quantum computer originate directly from infinity once it is involved in quantum mechanics. Thus, thеse phenomena can be elucidated as both complete and incomplete, after which choice is the border between them. A (...) special kind of invariance to the axiom of choice shared by quantum mechanics is discussed to be involved that border between the completeness and incompleteness of infinity in a consistent way. The so-called paradox of Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen is interpreted entirely in the same terms only of set theory. Quantum computer can demonstrate especially clearly the privilege of the internal position, or “observer”, or “user” to infinity implied by Henkin’s proposition as the only consistent ones as to infinity. (shrink)
According to Field’s influential incompleteness objection, Tarski’s semantic theory of truth is unsatisfactory since the definition that forms its basis is incomplete in two distinct senses: (1) it is physicalistically inadequate, and for this reason, (2) it is conceptually deficient. In this paper, I defend the semantic theory of truth against the incompleteness objection by conceding (1) but rejecting (2). After arguing that Davidson and McDowell’s reply to the incompleteness objection fails to pass muster, I argue that, (...) within the constraints of a non-reductive physicalism and a holism concerning the concepts of truth, reference and meaning, conceding Field’s physicalistic inadequacy conclusion while rejecting his conceptual deficiency conclusion is a promising reply to the incompleteness objection. (shrink)
After pinpointing a conceptual confusion (TCC), a Reality preconception (TRP1), and a fallacious dichotomy (TFD), the famous EPR/EPRB argument for correlated ‘particles’ is studied in the light of the Ontic Probability Interpretation (TOPI) of Quantum Theory (QT). Another Reality preconception (TRP2) is identified, showing that EPR used and ignored QT predictions in a single paralogism. Employing TFD and TRP2, EPR unveiled a contradiction veiled in its premises. By removing nonlocality from QT’s Ontology by fiat, EPR preordained its incompleteness. The (...) Petitio Principii fallacy was at work from the outset. Einstein surmised the solution to his incompleteness/nonlocality dilemma in 1949, but never abandoned his philosophical stance. It is concluded that there are no definitions of Reality: we have to accept that Reality may not conform to our prejudices and, if an otherwise successful theory predicts what we do not believe in, no gedankenexperiment will help because our biases may slither through. Only actual experiments could assist in solving Einstein’s dilemma, as proven in the last 50 years. Notwithstanding, EPR is one of the most influential papers in history and has immensely sparked both conceptual and technological progress. Future articles will further explain TOPI, demonstrating its soundness and potential for nurturing theoretical advance. (shrink)
a simple derivation of the effect induced from repeated measurements on quantum unstable systems is obtained by using the regularized incomplete beta - function .
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