FOM: Go"del & Phenomenology

Robert Tragesser RTragesser at
Sat Aug 22 07:16:45 EDT 1998

        In response to S.Simpsonm's response to my brining up the matter of
Heidegger,  phenomenology,  and fom, Juliette Kennedy wrote:

QUOTE"Re: Heidegger, for those with an interest in Godel's philosophy of 
mathematics the reason for studying Heidegger is phenomenology.  
As pointed out by Rick Tiezsen in his recent Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 
paper on Godel, phenomenology as espoused by Husserl strongly  
influenced Godel's late philosophical views.  

        It's appalling of me to point it out,  but as far as I know,  my
book PHENOMENOLOGY AND LOGIC (Cornell University Press 1976;  though of
course written earlier and conceived even earlier) treated,  and was the
first that I know of to treat,  the inner connection between phenomenology
and Godel's philosophical thinking wrt mathematical intuition and reality. 
(This work was inspired by reports to me from Kreisel and Myhill in
particular of their conversations with Go"del in the '60's about Husserl
and phenomenology).   Indeed,  as far as I know,  this remains the only
work that attempts to give an _inner relationship_ rather than the external
relationship.   It is even more appalling I guess to mention that,  just as
one has just seen on FOM the hosility to the very mention of a
phenomenologist,  in those days save for very few (thanks to whom the book
was published at all,  and by a respected press),  the linking of Go"del
and phenomenology "enraged" logicians and philosophers (Steve Simpson's
reaction was nothing copared to the sort of soul destroying acid that was
being thrown about in those days. . .not to mention stupidity,  such as one
world class logician clearly having confused Husserl and Kierkegaard).
        Nowadays a considerable cache attaches to putting Go"del and
phenomenology together,  and of course it is much much easier to do not
only politically but more especially because Go"del's writings are
available. At the same time,  I stand by the basic way in which I in P&L
characterized the phenomenological content of Go"delian intuition and
"realism".  I think that,  philosophically,  it is substantially correct.

        By the way,  Hermann Weyl should be mentijoned here,  for he
elaborately absorbed Husserlian phenomenology and his works,  especially
Das Kontinuum are exactly determined by Husserlian thinking.  
        (An elaborate,  mathematically thorough,  inn er -- genuinely
phebno,menological -- account -- rather than an extern al -- shcolalry --
account of all these matters appear in my w.i.p.,  Mathematical Insight.]

robert tragesser   

More information about the FOM mailing list