Review of T. Franzen, Godel's theorem: An incomplete guide to its use and abuse [Book Review]

Philosophia Mathematica 14 (2):262-264 (2006)
This short book has two main purposes. The first is to explain Kurt Gödel's first and second incompleteness theorems in informal terms accessible to a layperson, or at least a non-logician. The author claims that, to follow this part of the book, a reader need only be familiar with the mathematics taught in secondary school. I am not sure if this is sufficient. A grasp of the incompleteness theorems, even at the level of ‘the big picture’, might require some experience with the rigor of mathematical proof. Moreover, since the incompleteness theorems concern formal deductive systems, it would help for a potential reader of this book to have some familiarity with at least elementary logic.There are, of course, a number of informal expositions of the incompleteness theorems. I do not see the need to engage in a comparative study. The second, and more important, goal of the present book is to discuss some alleged consequences of the incompleteness theorems and, in particular, to debunk thoroughly claims in philosophy, religion, and literary criticism that are supposed to be established, or at least bolstered, by incompleteness. The execution of this part of the book is masterly. The arguments are clear and compelling.The book has eight chapters, each between eight and twenty-eight pages. The opening chapter gives a very brief account of the incompleteness theorems and a sketch of Gödel's life and work. Chapter 2 gives the main overview of the incompleteness theorems, plus …
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/philmat/nkl004
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,248
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Inexhaustibility: A Non-Exhaustive Treatment.Torkel Franzen - 2003 - Association for Symbolic Logic.
Visual Imagery and Geometric Enthymeme: The Example of Euclid I.Keith K. Niall - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):202-203.
Query the Triple Loophole of the Proof of Gödel Incompleteness Theorem.FangWen Yuan - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 41:77-94.
Implication of Incomplete Markets for Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitive Strategy.Sylvia Maxfield - 2006 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 17:133-138.
A Short Guide to Gödel's Second Incompleteness Theorem.Joan Bagaria - 2003 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):5-15.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
28 ( #187,790 of 2,192,159 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #289,804 of 2,192,159 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature