[FOM] Disproving Godel's explanation of incompleteness

Richard Heck rgheck at brown.edu
Sat Oct 22 18:48:38 EDT 2005

Richard Zach wrote:

>On Thu, 2005-10-20 at 14:06 -0400, Richard Heck wrote:
>>A.P. Hazen wrote:
>>>   What counts as an EXPLANATION is one of the great open problems in the philosophy of science, and what counts as an explanation in MATHEMATICS is.... 
>>so hard as not even to count as an open problem yet? [snip]
>Not recognized as a problem in "mainstream" philosophy of mathematics, perhaps, but there's a growing number of people working on explanation in mathematics and related questions [snip].
In case I was misunderstood, I didn't mean to imply that there isn't any
good work being done on this problem, or that none has been done in the
past. Some has (Steiner's paper remains a classic) and more is being
done nowadays. But I did mean to suggest that we do not yet understand
the problem space well enough really to be sure that we know exactly
what the problem is. There's some problem there, to be sure, but I don't
think anyone would suppose they could map out the possible positions on
the nature of mathematical explanation the way Fodor did, in a different
connection, in "Fodor's Guide to Mental Representation". One could do
that for theories of explanation in philosophy of science.

Perhaps the increasing attention now being given to this issue is a sign
that things have, for whatever reason, been moved forward enough that
some clarity is beginning to emerge. I hope so.

Richard Heck

Richard G Heck, Jr
Professor of Philosophy
Brown University
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