Wittgenstein’s ‘notorious paragraph’ about the Gödel Theorem

In Contributions of the Austrian Wittgenstein Societ. pp. 168-171 (2006)
Timm Lampert
Humboldt-University, Berlin
In §8 of Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics (RFM), Appendix 3 Wittgenstein imagines what conclusions would have to be drawn if the Gödel formula P or ¬P would be derivable in PM. In this case, he says, one has to conclude that the interpretation of P as “P is unprovable” must be given up. This “notorious paragraph” has heated up a debate on whether the point Wittgenstein has to make is one of “great philosophical interest” revealing “remarkable insight” in Gödel’s proof, as Floyd and Putnam suggest (Floyd (2000), Floyd (2001)), or whether this remark reveals Wittgenstein’s misunderstanding of Gödel’s proof as Rodych and Steiner argued for recently (Rodych (1999, 2002, 2003), Steiner (2001)). In the following the arguments of both interpretations will be sketched and some deficiencies will be identified. Afterwards a detailed reconstruction of Wittgenstein’s argument will be offered. It will be seen that Wittgenstein’s argumentation is meant to be a rejection of Gödel’s proof but that it cannot satisfy this pretension.
Keywords Wittgenstein  Gödel
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