[FOM] a badly done NYTimes review of a new book on Von Neumann

David Auerbach auerbach at ncsu.edu
Sun May 6 11:04:19 EDT 2012

Today's New York Times Book Review contains a review of ‘Turing’s Cathedral,’ by George Dyson. The book itself may be fine, but for those collecting inaccurate descriptions of Gödel's work this excerpt from the review should be of interest:
"Another institute scholar, the logician Kurt Gödel, is also a vital figure in Dyson’s story. Gödel is known for his “incompleteness theorem,” which demonstrated the existence of true statements that cannot be proved in any mathematically rigorous way. But it’s not Gödel’s conclusion that matters here so much as the trick he used to achieve it: He invented the mathematical double entendre. In his famous proof, numbers carry two meanings — the familiar one designating a quantity, and an encoded one designating a logical proposition (e.g., “No number can be multiplied by 0 to produce 7”)."

At the very least that first sentence commits the usual quantifier flip.  
The review then claims that Turing got the idea of a Turing machine from Gödel's arithmetization of syntax.  
 Again, I don't know if that's in the book, but I'm pretty sure it's false. 

Here's the link to the review:

David Auerbach                                                      auerbach at ncsu.edu
Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Raleigh, NC 27695-8103

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