Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 296 pages
"The genius behind this discovery was Kurt Godel, himself a man of paradox. He was the greatest logician since Aristotle, as well as Einstein's closest intellectual companion during Einstein's last years. But he was also deeply eccentric and given to paranoiac deductions that ultimately led to his tragic death. Subject to irrationality, he nevertheless put his faith in reason. With the use of an ingenious proof he was able to demonstrate that in any sufficiently complex system - in short, any system a mathematician would want to use - there are true statements that cannot be proven. Some thinkers despaired at this result. Others, like the formidable Wittgenstein, could never accept it. And still others misunderstood it as a torpedo to the hull of rationality itself. For Godel, however, it was evidence of an eternal, objective truth, independent of human thought, that can only be apprehended imperfectly by the human mind."--BOOK JACKET.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - antao - www.librarything.com

“It is really not so surprising that Wittgenstein would dismiss Gödel’s result with a belittling description like ‘logische Kunstücke,’ logical conjuring tricks, patently devoid of the large ... Read full review

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User Review  - KirkLowery - LibraryThing

This book is an intellectual biography of one of the greatest mathematicians and logicians of the 20th century. Gödel single-handedly derailed the Hilbert-Russell program of putting mathematical proof ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Introduction
13
A Platonist among the Positivists
53
Hilbert and the Formalists
121
The Proof of Incompleteness
147
Gödels Incompleteness
207
Notes
263
Suggested Reading
275
Acknowledgments
279
Index
281
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About the author (2005)

Rebecca Goldstein graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College and received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in the philosophy of science. She has taught philosophy at Barnard. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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