A logical journey: from Goedel to philosophy

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The complexity of living bodies has to be present either in the material or in the laws.

The materials which form the organs, if they are governed by mechanical laws, have to be of the same order of complexity as the living body. Mind is separate from matter: it is a separate object. In the case of matter, for something to be whole, it has to have an additional object. Footnote: Section 6. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind. Mind is separate from matter. The brain is a computing machine connected with a spirit. If the brain is taken to be physical and as [to be] a digital computer, from quantum mechanics [it follows that] there are then only a finite number of states.

Only by connecting it [the brain] to a spirit might it work in some other way. For example, according to some psychologists, the mind is capable of recalling all details it ever experienced. It seems plausible that there are not enough nerve cells to accomplish this if the empirical storage mechanism would, as seems likely, be far from using the full storage capacity. Of course other possibilities of an empirical disproof are conceivable, while the whole question is usually disregarded in philosophical discussions about mind and matter.

Note: It has been proved that we cannot recall previous experiences in detail. This possibility is not a conjecture. They begin with an assumption that no [separate] mind exists. The limits of science: Is it possible that all mind activities - infinite, for example, always changing, and so on - are brain activities? There can be a factual answer to this question. Saying no to thinking as a property of a specific nature calls for saying no also to elementary particles. Matter and mind are two different things.

This thesis presupposes: 1 spirit is matter; 2 either physics is finitary or the brain is a computing machine with neurons. Every now and then he makessome general observationson his life and outlook, which seembetter dealt with in a separatesection later in this chapter. He said little about thesematters in his conversations with me, except to offer some remarks about his health, which I also include in the section on this subject.

Godel' s marriage and his relationship with Einstein are especiallywell documentedand interesting aspectsof the human relations in his life. We know considerably less about his relations with other people. According to Rudolf, neither of the brothers had any close friends at home. He found all the directors of the Institute well disposed toward him. He was, at various times, comfortable with a number of logicians who saw him as their master , among them William Boone, Paul J.

He correspondedwith Paul Bernays over many years and invited him to the Institute severaltimes. In and he wrote me two careful letters to explain the relation between his philo- sophicalviews and his mathematicalwork in logic. In early Godel was suffering from poor health and thought he was about to die. After his recovery he had extensivediscussionswith me between the autumn of and the spring of In Godel was hospitalized for a urinary trad problem but declined to have an operation, and from then on he had to wear a catheter.

For the last few years of his life his health problems and those of Adele became his central concern, especiallyafter the spring of Godel arrangedto have me visit the Institute for and , but he mostly stayed at home and talked with me by telephone. We had many extended conversations between Odober of and March of After he was brieRy hospitalized around the end of. In June of , however, he spoke to me at somelength about his intellectual development. Near the end of May , urged by William Boone, I tried to persuade Godel to go to the GraduateHospital at the University of Pennsylvania , where someexcellent dodors were preparedto deal with his health problems as a specialpatient.

He askedfor and took down all the relevant information, but, in the end, would not give his permission to be taken there.

A Logical Journey: From Gödel to Philosophy - Hao Wang - Google книги

In July of Adele had an operation and subsequentlystayed away from home for about five months. I myself was out of the country from mid-Septemberto mid-November of that year. When I returned, I found Godel very depressedand full of self-doubt. Once he complained that there was no one to help him at home. I askedHasslerWhitney , who had taken it upon himself to look after Godel' s needs, about this; Whitney told me he had sent severalnursesto the house, but Godel had refusedto let them in. On 17 December I visited Godel and brought, at his request, a roasted chicken and some biscuits.

He askedme to break up the chicken into pieces, but did not eat any while I was there. On this occasion, he said to me: '1 have lost the power to make positive decisions. I can only make negative decisions. He died there on Saturday 14 January According to the death certificate, he died of " malnutrition and inanition, causedby personality disturbance.


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He had, it is true, a light anxietyneurosis at aboutthe ageof five, whichlatercompletelydisappeared. It is likely that this preoccupationbegan quite early, perhapsnot long after his rheumatic fever. It appears, however, that he enjoyed good health on the whole for the first twenty -five years of his life. As far as I know, no one, including himself and his brother, has mentioned any other illness during this period, and we have no dired information about the state of his health before We do know, however, that he performed extraordinarily well in school, in college, and in his early researchwithout any apparent interruptions for health or for other reasons.

Indeed his powers of concentrated and sustained work were clearly evident from these early achievements.

22/42 The Secrets of Kurt Gödel

According to Kreisel, these powers " continued into the sixties when his wife still spoke of him, affectionately, as a strammerBursche[vigorous youth ]" Kreisel There are several stories of Gooel' s early romantic interests. When his ' mother was visiting Lugano in , he wrote her 9. I believe " her namewas Marie.

There is no indication of when this took place, and it probably came to nothing. While he was still in school, his brother recalled , he fell in love and conversed easily with the daughter of some family friends who visited frequently.

Kurt Gödel

The young woman was more than ten years older than he was, and his family objeded strongly, and success fully. Rudolf once told me that, in his student days in Vienna while the brothers were living together, they often ate at a nearby restaurant on the Schlesingerplatzbecause. Gooel was interested in a waitress there. It was a family business: the father was the cashier, the mother cooked, and their attractive young daughter waited on the customers. At about this time, according to Olga TaUSSky-Todd, a fellow student at the university, G'6del was seen with a good-looking young girl who " wore a beautiful " , quite unusual summer dress.

Godel" , in P. Weingartner and L. Schmetterer, eds. During university vacations, Godel often accompaniedhis family to resort areas.

On religion and an afterlife:

Even though he apparently never drove later in life, in those days he sometimesdrove the family car, a Chrysler, and was, according to his brother, a fast driver. I have mentioned earlier the turbulent decadeof Godel' s life between when he was twenty -four and when he was thirty -four. During these years he made most of his famous discoveries, began his lifelong intimacy with Adele, did all his intercontinental travels, and, according to Adele and his brother, was mentally ill several times.

In his conversationswith me, however, he said nothing about his various mental crises, although he did mention a severe tooth problem in and a period of poor health in From to , he told me, his health was good, and it was exceptionally poor in. His letters to his mother after he moved to Princeton and was able to reestablishcontact with her near the end of the war, provide more information about his health and his daily life.


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My quotations from these letters are prefixed by their dates. We nevergo to the theaterherebut often to the cinema , which is a good substitute for it, sincetherearereally manygood pieces. What is alsoincomparablybetter hereis themusicon the radio i. Probably in , Oswald Veblen or Paul Oppenheim introduced Godel to Einstein, and they becameclosefriends for the dozen years or so before Einstein's death in April of Almost every day they walked together to and from the Institute.

At this time Einstein and Godel each had a large office on the ground floor of Fuld Hall. According to Deane ' Montgomery , whose office was ' from next to Einsteins, Godel ordinarily stopped at Einsteins houseabout ten or eleven in the morning, and they walked together to Fuld Hall. They worked until one or two in the afternoon, and then walked home together. They usually approached Fuld Hall from the side near Olden Lane and used the side entrance. Godel' s mother must have heard about her son' s friendship with Einstein and askedhim about if..

In his letter of We get up towardnoon and after eatingI do the weeklyaccountand readthe newspaper. GenerallyI only subsaibeto the newspaper the NewYorkTimes for Sundayand find this alonestill too much. Moreover, in the afternoonI oftengo to the universityor the town center , whichtakesagainat leasthalf an hour to get there andcomeback.

On 2 May Adele sailed for Europe and stayed away for about sevenmonths.

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