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Topic: David Ullrich on Godel
Replies: 4   Last Post: Oct 8, 2012 10:13 AM

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Paul

Posts: 474
Registered: 7/12/10
Re: David Ullrich on Godel
Posted: Oct 7, 2012 1:59 PM
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Il giorno domenica 7 ottobre 2012 17:58:05 UTC+1, Jesse F. Hughes ha scritto:
> pepstein5@gmail.com writes:
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> > On Saturday, October 6, 2012 9:42:57 PM UTC+1, Frederick Williams wrote:
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> >> Paul wrote:
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> >> > David Ullrich used to append this quotation to his newsgroup postings:
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> >> > "Understanding Godel isn't about following his formal proof.
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> >> > That would make a mockery of everything Godel was up to."
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> >> > Since I'm obsessed with following in full detail a rigorous account of Godel's theorems (I've yet to find one online which has the detail I want and where I don't get stuck on one of the steps), then obviously I must be doing completely the wrong thing, ullrichistically speaking.
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> >> > If following his formal proof is the wrong way to understand Godel, then what is a better way to understand Godel?
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> >> Professor Ullrich was quoting some twit to mock him.
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> > Thanks. That interpretation never occurred to me. I assumed the
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> > quote was part of Professor Ullrich's signature because Professor
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> > Ullrich endorsed it.
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> You must have an awfully low opinion of me, then.
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> The quote was from John Jones, who was a philosophy grad student that
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> was smitten with the initial lesson learned by all philosophy grad
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> students: the good thing about philosophy is that you can make
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> insightful comments without knowing a damned thing. The good students
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> later forget that lesson.
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> Maybe Jones forgot it, too. I haven't seen a post by him in quite some
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> time.
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It's not a matter of me having a "low opinion" of anybody. A number of points come to mind. My question was about something that was in David Ullrich's signature. So it's confusing to have Jesse Hughes say that my comment was a remark about himself (Jesse Hughes). Please can someone explain this? Is the Jesse Hughes post from David Ullrich using Jesse Hughes's account?

I would generally assume that putting a statement in your signature means that you endorse the statement. Suppose someone puts in their signature "I support Romney for President." Suppose I then write to that person, criticizing their support for Romney. Then I would think it odd if they said "But I don't support Romney at all. You must have an awfully low opinion of me if you think that I support Romney."

Here's some advice. If you disagree with something, try not to put the statement you disagree with in your signature. It's liable to confuse others.

I have an extremely high opinion of David Ullrich, based on what I've heard about his complex analysis book (still shamefully unread by me), but based primarily on his excellent contributions to this forum and, to a lesser extent, to the backgammon forum. I also know that research mathematics is a difficult career to succeed in, so I respect him for that.

I have no opinion (whether high or low) of Jesse Hughes, simply because I know almost nothing about him.

I'm sure that if Terence Tao had put the same statement in his signature, I would have assumed Terence Tao was endorsing it, so my question can't be based on having a low opinion.

Another point is that the statement I asked about does not seem ridiculous by any means. Many writers on the Godel theorems have discouraged their readers from checking every technical detail in the proofs and have had an attitude of "The ideas are the main thing -- don't worry too much about the details." The statement at issue simply takes that approach slightly further.

Paul Epstein









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