Glacial Erratics

The Unknowable

February 06, 2003

From an abstract of a lecture by Gregory Chaitin:

In other words, God not only plays dice in physics, but even in pure mathematics, in logic, in the world of pure reason. Sometimes mathematical truth is completely random and has no structure or pattern that we will ever be able to understand. It is NOT the case that simple clear questions have simple clear answers, not even in the world of pure ideas, and much less so in the messy real world of everyday life.

This is such a relief for me. Nevermind the god stuff, that's not really relevant to me. What gets me, what excites me, is that logic tells us that logic will never be completely logical. I love that. For me it encourages more play, more exploration, more interest. I don't understand why it gets some people down.


On February 8, 2003 12:23 AM matt said:

It's not that logic is illogical, but that provability in formal systems has limits. Or, as the RLG said, "provability is a weaker notion than truth". It's enlightening about the limits of logic, but it does not make any other method of inquiry any stronger or better. Knowhutimean? Assuming you're at sushi in about 20 minutes, I'll corner you there about this.

On February 10, 2003 07:37 PM Chris said:

I suppose instead of saying "that logic tells us that logic will never be completely logical" I should have said "that logic tells us that logic will never be complete". I think that leaves room for lots of suprises and that excites me.

I wasn't commenting on the strength of methods of inquiry.