[FOM] Falsify Platonism

Alex Blum blumal at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Apr 24 14:48:32 EDT 2010

Wouldn't this indicate that philosophical problems are a bit more difficult 
to solve? Other great modern minds tried their hand as well,e.g. 
Descartes,Leibnitz, Russell, Wittgenstein,Kripke,...were they all misguided?
No doubt nonsense passes easier as philosophy in the philosophical community 
than does math in its community. But that's about it.
Alex Blum

  Brian Hart wrote:

| It seems some foundational views are easier to falsify than others.
| Platonism may not be falsifiable.  Perhaps it may only be accepted as
| a matter of belief, like religious faith -- inspiring the
| mathematician or religious follower to continue their practice
| zealously.  Even a great mind like Gödel's was lured by the promise of
| philosophy.  I think he was interested in more profound truths than
| simply trivial technical results in logic or mathematics which is why
| he largely lost interest in logic after his most important results
| were found.  Some even consider him to be a philosopher even though he
| is considered to be one of the greatest logicians because he was so
| engaged with philosophical issues throughout his life.  His
| intellectual journey largely was in part guided by investigating the
| philosophical ramifications of his incompleteness theorems.  Perhaps
| even he thought he could somehow "prove" the truth of Platonism via a
| meta-mathematical or philosophical argument and many may interepret
| his later years as just an elaborate detour into the interminable
| argumentation of philosophy but I don't think all was for nought even
| though he struggled mightily to come to grips with his own ontological
| and epistemological views which is one of the reasons why he published
| so few philosophical works.  (Another reason might be his (likely
| unrealistic in the philosophical arena) penchant for exact correctness
| which could be much more easily obtained in a discipline like
| mathematics where a proof is either right or wrong.)  Philosophy
| teases the discursive intellect into thinking it can acquire
| cumulative philosophical knowledge with a confusing array of smoke and
| mirror tricks.  Just when one thinks one has a "proof" in one's hand
| one looks there only to find one's hand empty.
| As the analytical philosopher he informally was he thought he could
| utilize the tools provided him by mathematics and logic to attempt to
| precisely formalize and once and for all settle some mathematically
| philosophical issues.  I think Gödelian scholars will agree that the
| results were pretty much mixed, but his exploration of philosophy left
| him (and us) with much food for thought including investigations
| pertaining to the nature of the mind, the ontology of mathematical
| objects, the existence and identifiability of absolutely unsolvable
| problems, etc.  Do the Gödelian scholars on this list believe that
| Gödel would've taken up philosophy with the same vigor and dedication
| that he did had he had another chance at life or was this a
| significant misttep of a great man which could've been more
| well-suited to tackling the more technically-oriented problems of
| logic and mathematics?

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