FOM: What did Macintyre say in Sicily ? wtait at
Tue Mar 3 23:02:15 EST 1998

I can tell you the gist, but not much of the detail of Angus' talk in 
Mussomeli. I have not read his paper "The strength of weak systems", but 
from Steve S's description, the gist was the same---negative remarks 
about foundations based on positive commentaries on remarks of Kreisel. I 
remember a remark that the completeness theorem for first order logic was 
of no consequence, since it is compactness (and presumably not the 
recursive enumerability of valid sentences) that is important. I remember 
him saying that he regreted every moment that he had wasted studying 
philosophy. I probably remember this best, since I taught (or failed to 
teach) him some---you win some and you lose some.

What I remember best---and this is why I was surprised by the somewhat 
bitter tone of Steve's posting---was what an enjoyable talk it was, in 
part because it was delivered with evident enjoyment. I don't think that 
there was any discussion afterward. I didn't really like his excessively 
cost accounting evaluation of intellectual endeavors; but to pick at 
details would have seemed irrelevant. Anyway, God punished him: he fell 
racing someone down Etna and gouged his hand.

Its not bad to have your tail twisted once in a while.

Bill Tait

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