#### hypnagogue

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A Talk with Rebecca Goldstein

http://edge.org/3rd_culture/goldstein05/goldstein05_index.htmlGödel mistrusted our ability to communicate. Natural language, he thought, was imprecise, and we usually don't understand each other. Gödel wanted to prove a mathematical theorem that would have all the precision of mathematics—the only language with any claims to precision—but with the sweep of philosophy. He wanted a mathematical theorem that would speak to the issues of meta-mathematics. And two extraordinary things happened. One is that he actually did produce such a theorem. The other is that it was interpreted by the jazzier parts of the intellectual culture as saying, philosophically exactly the opposite of what he had been intending to say with it.

A fascinating read! Highly recommended. In addition to discussing Godel's Incompleteness Theorem in the context of his metaphysical views, it also weaves Wittgenstein, Einstein, Russell, and the Vienna Circle of logical positivists into the philosophical and historical tapestry. And in a deliciously ironic twist running through the whole discussion,

here are philosophers obsessed with trying to say things precisely, with giving the rules for precision, and what they're saying about precision isn't precise enough for them to understand one another.