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# Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel (Great Discoveries)

Paperback, 224 pages

Published
February 28th 2006
by W. W. Norton & Company
(first published 2005)

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## Community Reviews

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*Gödel, Escher, Bach*, and also in a video lecture, there’s hardly any biographical/personal information about the human behind the mathematician here to be found. That’s where Rebecca Goldstein jumps in. Her book focuses on the life of the “greatest logician since Aristotle”. About his time at the Vienna Circle (a.k.a. the Schlick-Group) in the ...more

*The more I think about language, the more it amazes me that people ever understand each other at all.*

Fucking Gödel.

The above (pictured with a rueful smile and head shake) succinctly summarizes my feelings for the incomparable Kurt Gödel—the greatest logician since Aristotle, as Rebecca Goldstein makes sure to iterate several times—the quiet and unassuming genius whose steel-trap mind could capture those ethereal abstract truths and convert them into human language constructs; who single-handedly ...more

Jan 11, 2018
Jeff
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review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Gödel-girls-and-boys

I'm going to reread the sections specifically about Gödel's incompleteness theorems because i'd really like to be able to speak about them without misrepresenting them one of these days. You could call it a New Year resolution if you wanted to.

I don't know how to rate this book because i'm so incapable of rating Goldstein's ability to convey the mathematical ideas. I can say that i thought i was read many sentences more than once ... but in completely different sections of the book, as if the ed ...more

I don't know how to rate this book because i'm so incapable of rating Goldstein's ability to convey the mathematical ideas. I can say that i thought i was read many sentences more than once ... but in completely different sections of the book, as if the ed ...more

This is a book that prefers to tell rather than show: Goldstein spends 160 pages telling the reader how amazing and important and revolutionary Göde ...more

We need to grasp Godel's theories accurately because we ...more

1 The book goes through thumbnail sketches of Godel's famous proofs and then a more involved version, but even after the more detailed explanation I still felt like I had only scratched the surface of it. Some of the things asserted about the process of Godel numbering seemed almost magical as a result. This is a tough balancing act for any popular take ...more

In this book Rebecca Goldstein sets out to explain Kurt Godel’s life, including his incompleteness theorems. She first sets the stage in an environmental context, both personal and mathematical. Then comes her explanation of Godel’s theorems. And finally, the later stages of his life.

The book starts our interestingly enough with the relationship between Einste ...more

I got it as a gift and picked it up to see if I wanted to read. Actually, based on the subject I thought I might want to recommend to a book club I am part of because it's a subject I am very interested in and would make for a good discussion.

However, diving in at chapter ii (which is well into the book) there was a discussion about postulates (or axioms) and intuition. That axioms are necessary for a mathematical system because you need a foundation to build ...more

Anyway, there are a number of things I did know about Gödel, but some things I did not. I remembered the Einstein-Gödel friendship, but I did not realize that his Incompleteness Proofs were taken the wrong way: that is, they w ...more

The description of Gödel’s proof was short and well written, but it was only about 25 pages. I can say I have less of a misunderstanding of the proof, but I can’t say I understood Goldstein’s explanation. If you’re looking for a good explanation, this probably isn’t ...more

The introduction is nice - she talks about the creation of the Institute for Advanced study in Princeton, and the unlikely friendship between Gödel and Einstein. Then she launches into a discussion of the Vienna Cir ...more

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Rebecca Newberger Goldstein grew up in White Plains, New York, and graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College, receiving the Montague Prize for Excellence in Philosophy, and immediately went on to graduate work at Princeton University, receiving her Ph.D. in philosophy. While in graduate school she was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship and a Whiting Foundation Fellowship.

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## Other Books in the Series

Great Discoveries
(1 - 10 of 14 books)

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“The necessary incompleteness of even our formal systems of thought demonstrates that there is no nonshifting foundation on which any system rests. All truths — even those that had seemed so certain as to be immune to the very possibility of revision — are essentially manufactured. Indeed the very notion of the objectively true is a socially constructed myth. Our knowing minds are not embedded in truth. Rather the entire notion of truth is embedded in our minds, which are themselves the unwitting lackeys of organizational forms of influence.”
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“The secret of the demagogue is to appear as dumb as his audience so that these people can believe themselves as smart as he is.”
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