Gödel’s Constitutional Quarrel (1947)
“The examiner was intelligent enough to quickly quieten Gödel and say ‘Oh god, let’s not go into this’ and broke off the examination at this point, greatly to our relief” — Oskar Morgenstern
Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) was the greatest logician who ever lived. At the age of 24, he revolutionized our understanding of the limits of epistemology — the theory of knowledge—by proving mathematically that all formal systems of logic are inherently incomplete. In a highly technical paper of 26 pages, Gödel showed how, no matter how comprehensive a system of rules, laws or axioms we devise, there will always be true and false statements which ‘fall through the cracks’, meaning they cannot be shown rigorously to belong to either classification. The consequences of his discovery spanned not only the foundations of mathematics, logic and philosophy, but indeed also spurred the development of the then-nascent fields of computer science, information theory and artificial intelligence.
Gödel’s Brilliant Madness
A meticulous man, perhaps the most m…