FOM: Godel on Reality

Charles Parsons parsons2 at
Wed May 10 14:13:11 EDT 2000

At 5:08 PM +0200 5/9/00, Soren Moller Riis wrote:
>Godel remark on mathematical reality
>In "Address at the Princeton University Bicentennial conference
>on problems of mathematics (Dec 17-19, 1946), by Tarsky
>printed in the Bulletin of Symbolic Logic Vol 6. Num 1 March 2000
>pp 1-44 Godel is cited for having said that in his opinion classical
>mathematics has meaning (i.e. describes some reality) and that
>failure to assume this (at least as a working hypothesis) must
>psychologically work as a hindrance in research.
>Søren Riis

Although this reminder is unnecessary for most of you, it should be
remarked that this quotation (from p. 35 of the discussion transcript of
the session where Tarski and also Goedel spoke) expresses a point of view
developed by Goedel in a number of writings, some of them close in time to
the 1946 conference. In particular "Russell's mathematical logic", 1944,
"What is Cantor's continuum problem?" 1947, rev. 1964, and the Gibbs
lecture, 1951. The first two are in volume II of the _Collected Works_, the
Gibbs lecture in volume III.

In my introductory note to Goedel's own lecture at the 1946 conference, I
say that it contains "instances of the application to concrete problems of
Goedel's realistic point of view" (_Collected Works_ II, 149).

Charles Parsons

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