FOM: misuse of great advances

Harvey Friedman friedman at
Fri Mar 26 08:42:21 EST 1999

Simpson 1:41PM 3/26/99 writes:

>Here Enzensberger misuses G"odel's theorem to support a general
>argument against the efficacy of reason, which in turn supports a
>collectivist ethical/political doctrine: the sacrifice of the
>individual for the sake of the collective (`the logic of triage').

Friedman writes:

> > I celebrate that they are best selling. This increases the exposure
> > to Godel, and hence one can now write further books disucssing
> > Godel in new ways - perhaps drawing competing conclusions - and get
> > a bigger audience than otherwise. Don't you want to celebrate this?
>Harvey, do you celebrate Enzensberger's book as an opportunity to
>write further books discussing G"odel in new ways?  Do you have any
>plans to write such further books, or to do anything else along these
>lines?  I sometimes get the impression that you are reluctant to
>become involved in this kind of thing ....

Well, I admit that I don't like to get involved in anything these days
except going for positive advances - and cofounding the FOM list.

But first of all, that may not always be true. Secondly, maybe we can get
Simpson to deal with this.

Look at my posting "The Foundational Exposition Project." When the output
gets published, there can be a little foreward warning readers about
various misuses of great advances (e.g., relativity theory and Godel's
theorem and Heisenberg, etcetera) towards drawing unwarranted conclusions.
That these topics are of such great g.i.i. that they lend themselves to
people making unwarranted conclusions, and now, finally, they can really
learn the essence of what they mean and draw their own conclusions.
Enzensberger will probably increase the readership of the output of the
foundational exposition project! Thank you, Enzensberger.

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