Topic: Godel's incompleteness theorem

topics > philosophy > Group: philosophy of mathematics

Liar's paradox and Russell's paradox
limitations of formalism
mathematics as a formal system
Turing machine


Godel's 1931 paper was an important landmark in mathematical logic. It proved that Hilbert's program to formalize mathematics could not be completed. Godel's approach was to arithmetize a formal system, i.e., he assigned a number to every statement in the system. He then constructed a statement that said of itself 'I am not provable'. As Godel showed, this statement is clearly true, but it can not be proved true in the system. Like all other statements, it had an equivalent number (its Godel number). Now, if G was proved in a consistent system, it would deny its non-provability. On the contrary, if G is not provable and the system is suitably consistent, then we can construct a proof of not G. Godel's second theorem shows that the consistency of a system implies that G is provable. Thus the consistency of the formal system can not be proved within the formal system. For more details, see van Heinenoort's article on Godel's Theorem in Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Godel's theorems are related to the Liar's paradox, to Richard's antimony, and to the halting problem of Turing machines. (cbb 4/94)

Subtopic: incompleteness up

Quote: can not prove the consistency of any consistent formal system that contains a certain amount of number theory
Quote: although Principia mathematica and Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory formalize all of mathematics, they contain simple, undecidable problems [»godeK_1931]
Quote: the consistency of a recursive consistent class of formulas is not provable in the system [»godeK_1931]
Quote: a formal system is complete if every true statement that can be expressed in the system is a theorem of the system [»hofsDR_1979]

Subtopic: effective calculable up

Quote: Church proposed a definition for effectively calculable functions and demonstrated an unsolvable problem [»churA_1936]
Quote: no complete set of effectively calculable invariants of conversion exist; for example, if Principia Mathematica is omega-consistent, its Enthscheidungsproblem is unsolvable [»churA_1936]

Subtopic: Godel's sentence up

Quote: gives Godel's sentence; it is true because it is unprovable in the system PM [»godeK_1931]
Quote: Godel's sentence is similar to the Liar's paradox and Richard's antimony
Quote: there is no general process to determine whether a given formula is provable; contrast with Godel's proof that there exist propositions U such that neither U nor -U is provable [»turiAM11_1936]
Quote: let 'Jack' be a name of the sentence 'Jack is short'; could use to prove Godel's incompleteness theorem [»kripS_1975]
Quote: informal description of Godel's string [»hofsDR_1979]
Quote: the Godel sentence G, if it were a true theorem, would state "G is not a theorem" [»hofsDR_1979]
Quote: Godel's string is equivalent to "I can not be proved in the formal system" [»hofsDR_1979, OK]

Subtopic: randomness up

Quote: to prove that a particular series of digits is random must prove that there is no small program for it; probably impossible [»chaiGJ5_1975]

Subtopic: Godel numbering up

Quote: easily identify hierarchical relations with symbolic numbers; e.g., if man is 6 and ape is 10 then neither concept contains the other [»leibGW4_1679]
Quote: a Godel numbering defines a number isomorphism for any formal system; typographic rules are arithmetic [»hofsDR_1979]
Quote: a Godel number is a name for a string [»hofsDR_1979, OK]

Subtopic: truth not provable up

Quote: need a theory of truth because truth can not be identified with mathematical provability; Godel [»tarsA_1944, OK]
Quote: Godel proved that provability is a weaker notion than truth no matter what axiomatic system is involved [»hofsDR_1979]

Related Topics up

Topic: Liar's paradox and Russell's paradox (25 items)
Topic: limitations of formalism (93 items)
Topic: mathematics as a formal system (30 items)
Topic: Turing machine
(30 items)

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