TUESDAY, JULY 5, 2022
But did they succeed in their quest?: To their credit, against all odds, they took The Gödel Challenge.
That said, did they succeed in their attempts—in their attempts at the Gödel Challenge as we will define it?
It seems to us that the answer is no. But to their credit, the challenge was taken. They gave the challenge a try.
In fact, quite a few people have taken the Gödel Challenge over the past fifty years. At issue is the so-called "incompleteness theorem" (or theorems) of Kurt Gödel, the logician, mathematician, and philosopher who published this theorem in 1931 at the age of 25.
As a result of this work, Gödel has often been called "the greatest logician since Aristotle." This would seem to suggest that his work was highly significant.
Gödel has often been called "the greatest logician since Aristotle!" But can anyone explain his work in a way non-specialists can understand?
In the course of the next few weeks (or months), we'll define the Gödel Challenge in a much more challenging way. We'll even ask this:
Is it possible that Gödel's work doesn't even make sense?
Such a suggestion may seem highly counterintuitive. Eventually, we'll go ahead and raise that possibility, even offering reasons for our concern. But for today, we'll settle for this opening parry:
Has anyone been able to explain Godel's work in a way non-specialists can understand?
Major players have taken the challenge, but has anyone succeeded? As we discuss this topic in the next few weeks, we'll focus on a relatively limited set of attempts.
In our next presentation in this series, we'll define the limited roster on whose efforts we'll focus. The people we'll list have all taken the challenge—but blurbs and book reviews to the side, has anyone ever succeeded at this Herculean task?
Later this week: The roster