The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » sci.math.* » sci.math

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: Matheology § 153
Replies: 1   Last Post: Nov 17, 2012 12:46 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]

Posts: 18,076
Registered: 1/29/05
Matheology § 153
Posted: Nov 17, 2012 2:36 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Matheology § 153

A charismatic speaker well-known for his clarity and wit, he once
delivered a lecture giving an account of Gödel's second incompleteness
theorem, employing only words of one syllable.
[George Boolos: "Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem - Explained in
Words of One Syllable", Mind, 103, Jan. 1994, p. 1ff]
At the end of his viva, Hilary Putnam asked him, "And tell us, Mr.
Boolos, what does the analytical hierarchy have to do with the real
world?" Without hesitating Boolos replied, "It's part of it". {{If
present at that illustrious moment I would have added another
question: And tell us, Mr. Boolos, does every part of the real world
have to observe its constraints? Unfortunately we don't know the
answer. But the constraints of the speech would have been kept by a
simple "yes".}}

The talk ended:
So, if math is not a lot of bunk, then, though it can't be proved that
two plus two is five, it can't be proved that it can't be proved that
two plus two is five.
By the way, in case you'd like to know: yes, it can be proved that
if it can be proved that it can't be proved that two plus two is five,
then it can be proved that two plus two is five. {{Spelled out
clearly: If math is not a lot of bunk, then math is a lot of bunk. And
this obvious nonsense not only has been accepted in matheology, but is
sacred as a touchstone of the intellectual capacity of their disciples
and as a fixing of their belief in finished infinity. - Because, as
Gödel himself already noted, without actual infinity his theorems are

Regards, WM

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.