FOM: Godel/Wittgenstein

Harvey Friedman friedman at
Sat Mar 7 05:23:27 EST 1998

This is a reply to Juliette Kennedy 3/6/98 2:22PM:

>It seems that the dispute between advocates of Wittgenstein on the one
>hand, and those who
>defend Godel's philosophical work on the other, centers about their being
>completely  polarized
>on the issue of what questions are genuinely philosophical questions. E.g.,
>the question: Is truth the same as proof? Is this a philosophical question?

I have witnessed "advocates" of Wittgenstein even daring to suggest that
his overall contribution to intellectual life can be placed at the same
level as that of Godel! And in fact, the more radical of these people even
believe that it is far higher!! Let me just say now in summary, without any
argument, that mentioning these scholars in the same breath can only be the
result of a misunderstanding of the higher forms of intellectual life,
where intriguing and provacative assertions are mistaken for profound,
seminal, and revolutionary advances.

I would like to see proponents of this kind of absurdity state their
position clearly and defend it on the fom before I go further.

>...(This theorem, which I have restated somewhat, appears in
>a draft of the paper "On Diophantine Propositons" in the Godel Nachlass at

I have Godel's Collected Works, Vol. 1-3. There are a couple of articles in
vol. 3 with similar, but not the same, titles. Where can I read the paper
you are referring to?

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