From closed to open systems

In J. Czermak (ed.), Philosophy of Mathematics, pp. 206-220. Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky (1993)
While Gödel's (first) incompleteness theorem has been used to refute the main contentions of Hilbert's program, it does not seem to have been generally used to stress that a basic ingredient of that program, the concept of formal system as a closed system - as well as the underlying view, embodied in the axiomatic method, that mathematical theories are deductions from first principles must be abandoned. Indeed the logical community has generally failed to learn Gödel's lesson that Hilbert's concept of formal system as a closed system is inadequate and continues to use it as if there were no incompleteness theorem. In this paper I will stress the role of Gödel's incompleteness theorem in showing the inadequacy of such a concept of formal system and the need for a more articulated view of mathematical theories. More generally I will argue that Gödel's result entails that, as an alternative to mathematical logic, a new concept of logic is required: logic as the theory of communicating inference processes.
Keywords Closed Systems  Open Systems  Incompleteness Theorems
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