[FOM] Goedel teaser

Alasdair Urquhart urquhart at cs.toronto.edu
Wed Oct 8 18:33:33 EDT 2003

OK, I guess I have had enough fun teasing
people.  The logician that Goedel called
"Du" was Alfred Tarski.  I was surprised
by the friendly and warm tone of their
correspondence, as I had always thought
of their relationship as a bit distant.

There is a strong friendly feeling in 
other correspondences, such as those
with Robinson and Boone, but I thought
the Tarski correspondence had a very special

I should add that there may indeed have
been other logicians whom Goedel 
addressed in the familiar form -- I was 
referring only to those whose correspondence
was published in the Collected Works.
Kreisel's letters are missing in their
entirety, for example, since Kreisel would
not allow their publication.

Unless I am mistaken, there are only three
people in Volumes 4 and 5 addressed by Goedel
in the familiar form: Herbert Feigl, Alfred Tarski
and his mother.  Paul Bernays, John von Neumann
and Rudolf Carnap are addressed in the polite form
to the end.

The letters vary quite a lot in tone.
The Menger letters have a special kind of
kidding feeling to them.  I think Menger was one of
the few people who could kid Goedel.
Later in life, I doubt that many people
dared, except for his wife, of course.

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