THE GODEL FILE: Digest of reports!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2018

New chapter starts tomorrow:
Below, you find links to the four reports from last week which constitute the Godel file.

Tomorrow, we start a new report, the Platonist file. Internationally, experts agree—somebody has to say it!
Tuesday, September 4: Who the heck was Godel? The greatest since Aristotle!

Wednesday, September 5: In what way was Godel "strange?" Let's start with the self-starvation.

Thursday, September 6: A Platonist was hiding among them. But was that a crazy idea?

Friday, September 7: We've been seeing ourselves from afar. Bushmen meet Aristotle!
Starting tomorrow: Holt, Goldstein and G. H. Hardy try to explain Platonism. With side trips to such curious places as 2 + 2 = 4!

(But nobody cares about this, you complain. In a leopard-skin pill-box nutshell, that's precisely our point!)

24 comments:

  1. "Let's start with the self-starvation."

    In fairness, you have to end with the self-starvation.

    Funny how no one calls it that when it is women and girls with anorexia who cause their own deaths. But there are many others who fail to eat enough. It is common with elderly people to fail to take in enough food to maintain health. It can happen due to decreases in sense of taste and smell resulting in loss of interest in food, or difficulties preparing meals (including shopping), or decreases in appetite due to side effects of medication, not only dementia. Use of the scare term "self-starvation" increases the stigma that Somerby seems to wish to inflict on Godel. It is putting a finger on the scales, something Somerby supposedly deplores.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In fairness, when TDH says, “Let’s start with the self-starvation.” he means he’s going to start the discussion of Gödel’s behavior with the topic of self-starvation.

      Funny how no one calls it that when it is women and girls with anorexia who cause their own deaths.

      Funny how you didn’t even bother to google the terms “anorexia” and “self-starvation” together. If you had, you’d have found over 2M hits, including the National Institutes of Health.

      Yes, the elderly often fail to eat enough. For the reasons you cite, and because the elderly often have difficulty swallowing. But none of those reasons is particularly strange or idiosyncratic, unlike the paranoid ideation of Gödel.

      Why is “self-starvation” a scare term? Seems like the proper label for deliberately refusing to eat.

      Delete
    2. Deadrat, my point is that Godel engaged in self-starvation when he was elderly, thus the condition could have occurred for these other reasons and not necessarily due to mental illness. It would be different if he had died of self-starvation when he was young. Self-starvation is not necessarily part of mental illness in the elderly but Somerby wishes to shock us by claiming that he starved himself to death because of his strange thinking.

      Delete
    3. I hope TDH isn't going the way of Godel. If nobody cares about him or Platonism,(or about popularizers who critics falsely claim have clearly explained the Godel/Platonism/etc.), there are zillions of things that people don't care about. We know about Socrates, another ancient philosopher on the top of the pantheon, only thru Plato - and Socrates said, I believe, that the more anyone knows, the more he knows that he doesn't know. I'm lost on what TDH is driving at - is there supposed to be some relevance to anything in particular?

      Delete
    4. C'mon. Godel refused to eat because he had a morbid fear of being poisoned. That not strange enough for ya?

      Delete
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  2. "(But nobody cares about this, you complain. In a leopard-skin pill-box nutshell, that's precisely our point!)"

    Nobody cares about the esoterica of many necessary but highly technical fields. I once too a class to get a ham radio license and was subjecting to whole bunches of knowledge about antennas and circuitry that I didn't care at all about. This is more of the same -- and why should people care?

    I find myself wondering why Somerby is so fixated on the Greek philosophers when there are so many important philosophers that came later. And why does he denigrate the popular books about math and science? At worst, these may pique the interest of precocious teens who may pursue the subjects later in college. At worst, these books make people more receptive to STEM knowledge in everyday life, more likely to vote for those who support science funding, more likely to show flexibility in the face of the changes science introduces into our society. What is the harm if they gloss the details?

    If Somerby funds these details annoying, he can access any number of introductory and even advanced science courses online, from major universities taught by top professors at places like Stanford and Harvard. Nothing is topping him from doing it right.

    Instead he carps about what he thinks are poorly explained concepts, which are only problematic because he lacks basic knowledge. He assumes others will lack knowledge too, but that may not be true these days. Kids learn more in school than Somerby did back in his day.

    But is it true that a book must be flawless or it shouldn't be published, shouldn't be well reviewed, shouldn't be read? In academia, the standard is not that work be perfect but that it be interesting and contribute something useful to other researchers. There are no perfect papers. Why is Somerby imposing a higher standard on work than the research community itself imposes? If we wait for that totally clear discussion, how many books will anyone read?

    Philosophers must be platonists because logic includes no way to know the truth value of a priori statements. If they cannot prove such statements, where does that knowledge come from? It is appealing to assume they have objective truth when one cannot prove their truth using logic. Religion is another way to solve that problem. But why do we need Plato? Later philosophers would be more interesting to talk about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But ya gotta give him points for the Dylan reference, no?

      Delete
  3. Someone like Somerby who thinks the human race is shit, is merely projecting his own psychological problems onto humanity. He might profitably review his life's accomplishments with a therapist and try to come to some peace of mind about his wasted life. The rest of us are not shit.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Starting tomorrow: Holt, Goldstein and G. H. Hardy try to explain Platonism."

    Didn't Plato do a good enough job explaining Platonism?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fucker wrote in Ancient Greek. If his insights were timeless, why didn't he write them in Modern English?

      Delete
  5. In your first post, dated 9/4, you say, "No one has heard of Gödel!" which you repeat inexplicably several times. In any case, it's untrue. Many college students had heard of Gödel in the late 1970s and 1980s because of the popular book Gödel, Escher, Bach.

    Besides, if few people are familiar with Gödel's theorems, there's no surprise. They're quite abstruse, and they require a good knowledge of higher mathematics to follow. Here's a pdf of a translation from the original:

    http://www.jamesrmeyer.com/pdfs/godel-original-english.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  6. "nobody cares about this"

    It isn't clear if "this" means Holt, Goldstein, and Hardy's attempts to explain Plato, or Platonism itself, or the 2+2=4 and other side trips, or the next post "starting tomorrow", or the entire series of TDH posts.

    And what is "it" that "somebody has to say?"

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's not true that no one has ever heard of Gödel (contrary to your inexplicably repeated assertion in your post of Sept. 4). Many college students knew who Gödel was by the 1980s, thanks to the book Gödel, Escher, Bach, published in 1979, according to Wikipedia. Perhaps you hadn't heard of him. That's a different matter.

    If few are familiar with the arguments in his theorems, it's no surprise: they're quite abstruse and require a good knowledge of higher mathematics, along with some mathematical logic. Here's a pdf of the original in English:

    http://www.jamesrmeyer.com/pdfs/godel-original-english.pdf

    Even an explanation can be a demanding read. The following is a pdf of a professor's explanation of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems:

    https://www.karlin.mff.cuni.cz/~krajicek/smith.pdf

    In addition, as I stated previously in a comment you chose not to publish, Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems are accepted as mathematical fact. No one disputes them. The fact that no one without a serious level of mathematical training can follow them is hardly relevant. Nor is the fact that Gödel was mentally ill part of his life. By the way, he produced his Incompleteness Theorems around the age of 25. He died around the age of 71. If he was mentally ill when he died, that hardly implies that he was incompetent when he developed those famous theorems. And as I said, no one disputes them. (I mean, maybe you think Gödel's ideas are irrational, but that shows a lack of knowledge of them more than anything else.)

    Well, if your point is just to write comedy, say whatever you think gets (or should get) a laugh. The worst comedians in Manhattan comedy clubs will probably do better, though.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. a comment you chose not to publish

      Really? I doubt Somerby even reads his comment section. Why would he? I've had the occasional comment go astray and have had to resubmit. Somerby allows ads for magical spells. How did you know you'd been blocked?

      Delete
    2. Occasionally I've tried to submit a comment and it disappeared. Eventually, the problem disappears. I think it's probably a server issue.

      Delete
  8. Get out of here and get me some money.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE73giFnLBs

    ReplyDelete
  9. Somerby's point with all of this is entirely unclear. He wants to show that Gödel was mentally ill, and implies that that is somehow significant, connected to the claim that he was a great, perhaps the greatest logician, that nobody has heard of, then bemoans the lack of logic in our discourse (except as a commenter pointed out previously, Gödel was not dealing with everyday "logic", which might be simply called rational thinking, but something entirely different relating specifically to mathematics). Somerby seemed to mock Plato's ideas, but now he seems to mock the attempts at explaining them. But why go to such lengths to prove Gödel's mental illness? And is he referring to Hardy, the British mathematician who died in 1947? His contributions to mathematics, like Gödel's, are clear. Again, what is the point of all this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby seems to enjoy mocking people, and concepts, he quite clearly does not comprehend.

      Delete
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