[FOM] Godel numbers, use, and mention

Dean Buckner Dean.Buckner at btopenworld.com
Sat Jun 7 14:11:36 EDT 2003

> Perhaps I still miss the point.

The only point is that

 (A) It is improbable that Bacon wrote Macbeth
 (B) It is probable that Shakespeare wrote Macbeth

 does not imply

 (C) Shakespeare <> Bacon

If it did, we could make all sorts of interesting deductions.

> "It is probable that this guy [pointing] wrote Macbeth."  It
>sounds like you are saying we could then point to the same guy and say
>without contradiction that: "It is improbable that this guy wrote Macbeth."

And also you cannot say

(*) It is improbable that Bacon wrote Macbeth, and it is probable that he
wrote Macbeth.

which is interesting and suggests the right answer to the problem.  I was
going to say, read Prior "Objects of Thought" and give a reference, but my
copy is not to hand.  It's in the last chapter or the appendix, where he
notes the similarity between pronominal anaphor, and demonstratives.

The difference, I think, is that it is not part of the meaning of the word
"Shakespeare" that it refers back to Bacon, in the way that "he" in (*)
refers back to Bacon.  Because "he" refers back, it's part of its meaning
that the same person is in question, and so (*) is a contradiction.  But if
you substitute "Shakespeare", it's obviously not going to "refer back" in
the same way, and so you do not get a contradiction.

> As for the joke concerning joining clubs, you're right it was G. Marx that
> said it first.  Woody invokes Groucho at the beginning to Annie Hall (I
> think).

I have had further correspondence from sad people pointing out that it was
Oscar who first said this.

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