The metamathematical theorems of Gödel and Church are frequently applied to the philosophy of mind, typically as rational evidence against mechanism. Using methods of Post and Smullyan, these results are presented as purely mathematical theorems and various such applications are discussed critically. In particular, J. Lucas's use of Gödel's theorem to distinguish between conscious and unconscious beings is refuted, while more generally, attempts to extract philosophy from metamathematics are shown to involve only dramatizations of the constructivity problem in foundations. More (...) specifically, philosophical extrapolations from metamathematics are shown to involve premature extensions of Church's thesis. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the relationship between the philosophy of Theodor Adorno and the Bilderverbot , or biblical Second Commandment against images. My starting point is J. F. Lyotard's construction of the melancholic sublime in his essay `What is the Postmodern?', which I argue he uses to critique Adorno's aesthetics, and, more generally, his position as a `modern' thinker. To prove that Lyotard had Adorno in mind when he constructed the category of the melancholic sublime, I return to an (...) earlier piece by Lyotard — `Adorno as the Devil' — which is a reading of Thomas Mann's Dr Faustus , in which Adorno is said to be one of the faces of the Devil. My argument is that Lyotard's understanding of Adorno is flawed because he does not recognize the distinctly Jewish, albeit secularized, character of his thought. I set out to challenge Lyotard by demonstrating the central importance that the Bilderverbot plays in Adorno's work, which should not be understood as melancholic because the Jewish Messianism associated with the Bilderverbot is profoundly future-oriented. In short, I argue that Lyotard's depiction of Adorno is flawed because he reads him as a Christian, while he should be approaching him as a secularized Jew. Key Words: Theodor Adorno • aesthetic theory • Dr Faustus • the image prohibition • Jewish thought • Jean-François Lyotard • Thomas Mann • Messianism • representation • the sublime. (shrink)
G. Priest's anti-consistency argument (Priest 1979, 1984, 1987) and J. R. Lucas's anti-mechanist argument (Lucas 1961, 1968, 1970, 1984) both appeal to Gödel incompleteness. By way of refuting them, this paper defends the thesis of quartet compatibility, viz., that the logic of the mind can simultaneously be Gödel incomplete, consistent, mechanical, and recursion complete (capable of all means of recursion). A representational approach is pursued, which owes its origin to works by, among others, J. Myhill (1964), P. Benacerraf (1967), J. (...)Webb (1980, 1983) and M. Arbib (1987). It is shown that the fallacy shared by the two arguments under discussion lies in misidentifying two systems, the one for which the Gödel sentence is constructable and to be proved, and the other in which the Gödel sentence in question is indeed provable. It follows that the logic of the mind can surpass its own Gödelian limitation not by being inconsistent or non-mechanistic, but by being capable of representing stronger systems in itself; and so can a proper machine. The concepts of representational provability, representational maximality, formal system capacity, etc., are discussed. (shrink)
Albert Einstein.--Bertrand Russell.--John Dewey.--R.A. Millikan.--Theodore Dreiser.--H.G. Wells.--Fridtjof Nansen.--Sir James Jeans.--Irving Babbitt.--Sir Arthur Keith.--J.T. Adams.--H.L. Mencken.--Julia Peterkin.--Lewis Mumford.--G.J. Nathan.--Hu Shih.--J.W. Krutch.--Irwin Edman.--Hilaire Belloc.--Beatrice Webb.--W.R. Inge.--J.B.S. Haldane.--Biographical notes. Note: This book was re-published by AMS Press, 1979.
Our image of Herbert Spencer is that of a bald, dyspeptic bachelor, spending his days in rooming houses, and fussing about government interference with individual liberties. Beatrice Webb, who knew him as a girl and young woman recalls for us just this picture. In her diary for January 4, 1885, she writes: Royal Academy private view with Herbert Spencer. His criticisms on art dreary, all bound down by the “possible” if not probable. That poor old man would (...) miss me on the whole more than any other mortal. Has real anxiety for my welfare—physical and mental. Told him story of my stopping cart horse in Hyde Park and policeman refusing to come off his beat to hold it. Want of public spirit in passers-by not stopping it before. “Yes, that is another instance of my first principle of government. Directly you get state intervention you cease to have public spirit in individuals; that will be a constantly increasing tendency and the State, like the policeman, will be so bound by red-tape rules that it will frequently leave undone the simplest duties.”1 Spencer appears a man whose strangled emotions would yet cling to a woman whose philosophy would be completely alien to his own, as Webb’s Fabian Socialism turned out to be. Our image of Darwin is more complex than our image of Spencer. We might think of him nestled in the bosom of his large family, kindly, and just a little sad. The photo of him taken by Julia Cameron reveals the visage of an Old Testament prophet, though one, not fearsome, but made wise by contemplating the struggle of life on this earth. These images have deeply colored our reaction to the ideas of each thinker. The pictures are not false, but they are cropped portraits that tend to distort our reactions to the theories of each. If we examine the major features of their respective.. (shrink)
No. Animals' primary problem is the shaping of movements, guided by and adapting to sensory signals. This requires a narrower class of biorobotic models than that spanned by Webb's dimensions and examples. We claim that all model variables and mechanisms must have real counterparts, input vectors must model known sensor fields, internal state vectors and transformations must model neurophysiological processes, and output vectors must model coordinated muscle signals.
THE SELF, THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE COMMUNITY: LIBERALISM IN THE POLITICAL THOUGHT OF F. A. HAYEK AND SIDNEY AND BEATRICE WEBB by Brian Lee Crowley New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. 310 pp., $59.00.