In a recent paper S. McCall adds another link to a chain of attempts to enlist Gödel’s incompleteness result as an argument for the thesis that human reasoning cannot be construed as being carried out by a computer.1 McCall’s paper is undermined by a technical oversight. My concern however is not with the technical point. The argument from Gödel’s result to the no-computer thesis can be made without following McCall’s route; it is then straighter and more forceful. Yet the (...) argument fails in an interesting and revealing way. And it leaves a remainder: if some computer does in fact simulate all our mathematical reasoning, then, in principle, we cannot fully grasp how it works. Gödel’s result also points out a certain essential limitation of self-reflection. The resulting picture parallels, not accidentally, Davidson’s view of psychology, as a science that in principle must remain “imprecise”, not fully spelt out. What is intended here by “fully grasp”, and how all this is related to self-reflection, will become clear at the end of this comment. (shrink)
"The Emperor's New Mind" by Roger Penrose has received a great deal of both praise and criticism. This review discusses philosophical aspects of the book that form an attack on the "strong" AI thesis. Eight different versions of this thesis are distinguished, and sources of ambiguity diagnosed, including different requirements for relationships between program and behaviour. Excessively strong versions attacked by Penrose (and Searle) are not worth defending or attacking, whereas weaker versions remain problematic. Penrose (like Searle) regards the notion (...) of an algorithm as central to AI, whereas it is argued here that for the purpose of explaining mental capabilities the architecture of an intelligent system is more important than the concept of an algorithm, using the premise that what makes something intelligent is not what it does but how it does it. What needs to be explained is also unclear: Penrose thinks we all know what consciousness is and claims that the ability to judge Go "del's formula to be true depends on it. He also suggests that quantum phenomena underly consciousness. This is rebutted by arguing that our existing concept of "consciousness" is too vague and muddled to be of use in science. This and related concepts will gradually be replaced by a more powerful theory-based taxonomy of types of mental states and processes. The central argument offered by Penrose against the strong AI thesis depends on a tempting but unjustified interpretation of Goedel'sincompleteness theorem. Some critics are shown to have missed the point of his argument. A stronger criticism is mounted, and the relevance of mathematical Platonism analysed. Architectural requirements for intelligence are discussed and differences between serial and parallel implementations analysed. (shrink)
We investigate what happens when ‘truth’ is replaced with ‘provability’ in Yablo’s paradox. By diagonalization, appropriate sequences of sentences can be constructed. Such sequences contain no sentence decided by the background consistent and sufficiently strong arithmetical theory. If the provability predicate satisfies the derivability conditions, each such sentence is provably equivalent to the consistency statement and to the Gödel sentence. Thus each two such sentences are provably equivalent to each other. The same holds for the arithmetization of the existential Yablo (...) paradox. We also look at a formulation which employs Rosser’s provability predicate. (shrink)
We propose that the sudden emergence of metazoans during the Cambrian was due to the appearance of a complex genome architecture that was capable of computing. In turn, this made defining recursive functions possible. The underlying molecular changes that occurred in tandem were driven by the increased probability of maintaining duplicated DNA fragments in the metazoan genome. In our model, an increase in telomeric units, in conjunction with a telomerase-negative state and consequent telomere shortening, generated a reference point equivalent to (...) a non-reversible counting mechanism. (shrink)
Roger Penrose is justly famous for his work in physics and mathematics but he is _notorious_ for his endorsement of the Gödel argument (see his 1989, 1994, 1997). This argument, first advanced by J. R. Lucas (in 1961), attempts to show that Gödel’s (first) incompleteness theorem can be seen to reveal that the human mind transcends all algorithmic models of it1. Penrose's version of the argument has been seen to fall victim to the original objections raised against Lucas (see (...) Boolos (1990) and for a particularly intemperate review, Putnam (1994)). Yet I believe that more can and should be said about the argument. Only a brief review is necessary here although I wish to present the argument in a somewhat peculiar form. (shrink)
Gödel's Theorem is often used in arguments against machine intelligence, suggesting humans are not bound by the rules of any formal system. However, Gödelian arguments can be used to support AI, provided we extend our notion of computation to include devices incorporating random number generators. A complete description scheme can be given for integer functions, by which nonalgorithmic functions are shown to be partly random. Not being restricted to algorithms can be accounted for by the availability of an arbitrary random (...) function. Humans, then, might not be rule-bound, but Gödelian arguments also suggest how the relevant sort of nonalgorithmicity may be trivially made available to machines. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that the opposition between the two main methods of mathematics, the axiomatic and the analytic method, is first of all an opposition between intuition and <span class='Hi'>discourse</span>, and, in addition, an opposition between the socalled demonstrative and non-demonstrative reasoning. These two methods, however, are not on a par because the view that the method of mathematics is the axiomatic method is refuted by Goedel'sincompleteness results, which on the contrary do not affect (...) the view that the method of mathematics is the analytic method. (shrink)
Various authors of logic texts are cited who either suggest or explicitly state that the Gödel incompleteness result shows that some unprovable sentence of arithmetic is true. Against this, the paper argues that the matter is one of philosophical controversy, that it is not a mathematical or logical issue.
This junior/senior level text is devoted to a study of first-order logic and its role in the foundations of mathematics: What is a proof? How can a proof be justified? To what extent can a proof be made a purely mechanical procedure? How much faith can we have in a proof that is so complex that no one can follow it through in a lifetime? The first substantial answers to these questions have only been obtained in this century. The most (...) striking results are contained in Goedel's work: First, it is possible to give a simple set of rules that suffice to carry out all mathematical proofs; but, second, these rules are necessarily incomplete - it is impossible, for example, to prove all true statements of arithmetic. The book begins with an introduction to first-order logic, Goedel's theorem, and model theory. A second part covers extensions of first-order logic and limitations of the formal methods. The book covers several advanced topics, not commonly treated in introductory texts, such as Trachtenbrot's undecidability theorem. Fraissé's elementary equivalence, and Lindstroem's theorem on the maximality of first-order logic. (shrink)
Goedel's theorem states that in any consistent system which is strong enough to produce simple arithmetic there are formulae which cannot be proved-in-the-system, but which we can see to be true. Essentially, we consider the formula which says, in effect, "This formula is unprovable-in-the-system". If this formula were provable-in-the-system, we should have a contradiction: for if it were provablein-the-system, then it would not be unprovable-in-the-system, so that "This formula is unprovable-in-the-system" would be false: equally, if it were provable-in-the-system, then (...) it would not be false, but would be true, since in any consistent system nothing false can be provedin-the-system, but only truths. So the formula "This formula is unprovable-in-the-system" is not provable-in-the-system, but unprovablein-the-system. Further, if the formula "This formula is unprovablein- the-system" is unprovable-in-the-system, then it is true that that formula is unprovable-in-the-system, that is, "This formula is unprovable-in-the-system" is true. Goedel's theorem must apply to cybernetical machines, because it is of the essence of being a machine, that it should be a concrete instantiation of a formal system. It follows that given any machine which is consistent and capable of doing simple arithmetic, there is a formula which it is incapable of producing as being true---i.e., the formula is unprovable-in-the-system-but which we can see to be true. It follows that no machine can be a complete or adequate model of the mind, that minds are essentially different from machines. (shrink)
Summarizing a surrounding 200 pages, pages 179 to 190 of Shadows of the Mind contain a future dialog between a human identified as "Albert Imperator" and an advanced robot, the "Mathematically Justified Cybersystem", allegedly Albert's creation. The two have been discussing a Gödel sentence for an algorithm by which a robot society named SMIRC certifies mathematical proofs. The sentence, referred to in mathematical notation as Omega(Q*), is to be precisely constructed from on a definition of SMIRC's algorithm. It can be (...) interpreted as stating "SMIRC's algorithm cannot certify this statement." The robot has asserted that SMIRC never makes mistakes. If so, SMIRC's algorithm cannot certify the Goedel sentence, for that would make the statement false. But, if they can't certify it, what is says is true! Humans can understand it is true, but mighty SMIRC cannot certify it. The dialog ends melodramatically as the robot, apparently unhinged by this revelation, claims to be a messenger of god, and the human shuts it down with a secret control. (shrink)
Hawking, in his book, A Brief History of Time, concludes with a conditional remark: If we find a complete theory to explain the physical world, then we will come to understand God’s mind. With Goedel in mind, we can raise questions about the completeness of our scientific understanding and the nature of our understanding with regard to God’s mind. We need to ask about the higher order of our understanding when we move to knowing God’s mind. We go onto develop (...) these problems with Nietzsche’s thoughts on the death of God, and the emergence of super human intelligences. Then, we come to Buddha, a logical genius, to see how the Buddhistic enlightenment exemplifies the super human intelligence, as well as the higher order understanding in our knowledge of God’s mind. (shrink)
According to the received view, formalism – interpreted as the thesis that mathematical truth does not outrun the consequences of our maximal mathematical theory – has been refuted by Goedel's theorem. In support of this claim, proponents of the received view usually invoke an informal argument for the truth of the Goedel sentence, an argument which is supposed to reconstruct our reasoning in seeing its truth. Against this, Field has argued in a series of papers that the principles involved (...) in this argument – when applied to our maximal mathematical theory – are unsound. This paper defends the received view by showing that there is a way of seeing the truth of the Goedel sentence which is immune to Field's strategy. (shrink)
Leibniz entertained the idea that, as a set of “striving possibles” competes for existence, the largest and most perfect world comes into being. The paper proposes 8 criteria for a Leibniz-world. It argues that a) there is no algorithm e.g., one involving pairwise compossibility-testing that can produce even possible Leibniz-worlds; b) individual substances presuppose completed worlds; c) the uniqueness of the actual world is a matter of theological preference, not an outcome of the assembly-process; and d) Goedel’s theorem implies that (...) there can be no algorithm for producing optimal worlds, assuming an optimal world contains truth-discerning creatures, though this is not to say that such worlds cannot arise naturally. (shrink)
My contribution to the symposium on Goedel’s philosophy of mathematics at the spring 2006 Association for Symbolic Logic meeting in Montreal. Provisional version: references remain to be added. To appear in an ASL volume of proceedings of the Goedel sessions at that meeting.
Since the onset of logical positivism, the general wisdom of the philosophy of science has it that the kantian philosophy of (space and) time has been superseded by the theory of relativity, in the same sense in which the latter has replaced Newton’s theory of absolute space and time. On the wake of Cassirer and Gödel, in this paper I raise doubts on this commonplace by suggesting some conditions that are necessary to defend the ideality of time in the sense (...) of Kant. In the last part of the paper I bring to bear some contemporary physical theories on such conditions. (shrink)
PROFESSOR LEWIS 1 and Professor Coder 2 criticize my use of GĂ¶del's theorem to refute Mechanism. 3 Their criticisms are valuable. In order to meet them I need to show more clearly both what the tactic of my argument is at one crucial point and the general aim of the whole manoeuvre.
Dissertatio proposita circa “argumentum ontologicum” pro existentia Dei, quem K. Goedel construxit, versatur. In prima parte structuram logicam dicti argumenti exponimus, singulos gradus argumenti explicamus, “collapsumque modalitatum”, quo argumentum invalidari invenitur, examinamus. Sequenti parte recentiores quasdam confectiones argumenti pertractamus; et scil. praecipue formam eius, quae super conceptum mathematicum multitudinis seu “complexus elementorum terminatorum” fundatur, et formam “algebraicam”, quarum affinitates quasdam notabiles prae oculos ponimus. Ultima parte disceptationes, quae circa huiusce argumenti validitatem ac momentum respectu modernae theisticae philosophiae agebantur, describimus. Loco (...) conclusionis observamus, Goedelii argumentum exemplum esse notabile “fidei quaerentis intellectum”.The article deals with Gödel’s ontological proof of God’s existence. It consists of three parts. In the first part we present the logical structure of the argument, analyse its individual steps and discuss the implied collapse of modalities, which is fatal for the proof. In the second part we focus on some more recent versions of the argument, especially the set-theoretical version and the algebraic version, and we show several interesting connexions between the algebraic and the set-theoretical version. In the final part of the paper we briefly recount the discussions concerning the validity of the argument and its importance for modern theistic philosophy. We conclude by observing that Gödel’s argument is an interesting modern instance of “faith seeking understanding”. (shrink)
The presented paper takes up the attempt to analyse and specify the suspicion that some modal rules of inference are paralogical in application to non-logical reasonings (s.c. modal fallacy). The considerations have been limited to modal prepositional calculi: K and S5, which are intended to be a formal base of these non-logical reasonings - proofs of so called specific thesis on the grounds of the particular specific theories. Pointing out the properties of being permitted, being valid and being derivable in (...) case of inferences rules and also semantical relations of point, structure, frame and inferential consequence in standard semantics of possible worlds, enables to define two kinds of paralogism: point and structural. Justification of the suspicion of modal fallacy occurrence in the case of a given inference rule, depends on pointed metalogical properties of this rule and also on what kind of the notion of paralogism is being discussed. It appears that when a given rule is paralogical only pointly (and not structurally), the sufficient condition of avoiding modal fallacy is to consider the specific axioms of the given specific theory as the sentences which are structurally true (structural truth is of course not equivalent to logical truth). If we want to treat these axioms as sentences which are pointly true, we have to eliminate pointly paralogical rules. In this case it is enough to construct such axiomatisation of calculi K and S5, in which we use the notion of modal closure (it eliminates the primitive rule of Goedel and all rules derivable from it - rules which are structurally but not pointly correct). (shrink)
Thinking about time travel is an entertaining way to explore how to understand time and its location in the broad conceptual landscape that includes causation, fate, action, possibility, experience, and reality. It is uncontroversial that time travel towards the future exists, and time travel to the past is generally recognized as permitted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, though no one knows yet whether nature truly allows it. Coherent time travel stories have added flair to traditional debates over the metaphysical (...) status of the past, the reality of temporal passage, and the existence of free will. Moreover, plausible models of time travel and time machines can be used to investigate the subtle relation between space-time structure and causality. -/- It surveys some philosophical issues concerning time travel and should serves as a quick introduction. It includes a new and improved way to define a time machine. (shrink)
We extend Meyer's 1972 investigation of sets of minimal indices. Blum showed that minimal index sets are immune, and we show that they are also immune against high levels of the arithmetic hierarchy. We give optimal immunity results for sets of minimal indices with respect to the arithmetic hierarchy, and we illustrate with an intuitive example that immunity is not simply a refinement of arithmetic complexity. Of particular note here are the fact that there are three minimal index sets located (...) in Π3 − Σ3 with distinct levels of immunity and that certain immunity properties depend on the choice of underlying acceptable numbering. We show that minimal index sets are never hyperimmune; however, they can be immune against the arithmetic sets. Lastly, we investigate Turing degrees for sets of random strings defined with respect to Bagchi's size-function s. (shrink)
My purpose in this brief paper is to consider the implications of a radically different computer architecure to some fundamental problems in the foundations of Cognitive Science. More exactly, I wish to consider the ramifications of the 'Gödel-Minds-Machines' controversy of the late 1960s on a dynamically changing computer architecture which, I venture to suggest, is going to revolutionize which 'functions' of the human mind can and cannot be modelled by (non-human) computational automata. I will proceed on the presupposition that the (...) reader is familiar with some of the fundamentals of computational theory and mathematical logic. (shrink)