[FOM] Response / critical review of Franzen's Gödel book

Christopher Menzel cmenzel at tamu.edu
Mon Apr 2 03:40:58 EDT 2012

Am Mar 29, 2012 um 2:53 AM schrieb charlie:
> What exactly is meant by "serious" abuses of G's thms?  I'm puzzled, since throwing around mistaken versions of G's th'm, Russell's Paradox, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle etc., are ubiquitous.  I wouldn't know what would make them "serious".

As I read it, the OP seems suspicious of the uniformly positive reviews of Torkel's book (may he rest in peace) and was asking, not whether there are any serious abuses of Gödel's theorem, but whether there are any serious critical — i.e., negative? — reviews of the book, reviews that, in particular, defend at least some of the "abusers". I'll go out on a rather sturdy limb and assert a priori that there are no such reviews, as the book's exposition of Gödel's formal results is superlative and the "abuses" are clearly analyzed and explained, often rather sympathetically and never stridently — as Aatu points out in his reply, Torkel (rather charitably) saw the abuses he discusses at least as often as not as simply the result of well-intentioned misunderstanding. The book's purpose is not to deride, but to educate. It is a marvelous piece of work.

Chris Menzel

> On Mar 26, 2012, at 6:28 PM, // ravi wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> while I have come across many positive reviews of Torkel Franzén’s "Gödel’s Theorem: An Incomplete Guide to Its Use and Abuse” such as Panu Raatikainen’s in the AMS (http://www.ams.org/notices/200703/rev-raatikainen.pdf), searches do not yield any critical treatment of the book or a defence by those [implicitly] accused of “abuse” of the result(s). I am curious if there are any serious ones and I would greatly appreciate any pointers.
>> Regards,
>> 	—ravi

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