Gödel Without Tears, again?

Last year, a couple of thousand people downloaded Gödel Without (too many) Tears, and the notes continue to be downloaded at the same rate. Which makes me think I could usefully update/expand the notes so that, for a start, they integrate better with the new edition of IGT.

Oh, should I flag that up? <begin shameless advert>

IGT2 is now available in the USA. Hasten to Amazon.com or your local friendly bookseller. Go on, you know you want a copy. As do your logical friends and relations. Total bargain, of course, and full of timeless truths, which is more than be said for most philosophy books. (And don’t forget to tell your uni library to get lots of copies).

<end shameless advert> Ahem. As I was saying. I’ve been wondering about re-doing GWT. Perhaps in two halves, say eight or ten instalments for the [UK] autumn term/semester later this year, and then another bunch of instalments for the beginning of 2014. I’m not inclined to do any accompanying lecture-style videos (if only because I get bored watching such things myself: reading is so much quicker than listening/watching!). But I am turning over the idea of setting up a forum for questions/discussions. A heavily moderated forum, so as avoid everything being hijacked by the swivel-eyed loons who want to disprove Gödel’s theorems, or by the likes of those who troll math.stackexchange by inciting people to waste their time explaining standard bookwork.

I’d be interested, though, to hear from (or be put in touch with) anyone who has experience using a discussion forum like this. Would it get used? Is it more hassle than it is worth? (And practically, any recommendations of forum software to use? If you or anyone you know has set up a mathsy forum in a way that allows contributors to use MathJax to render LaTeX symbolism nicely, then I’d be particularly interested to hear about how that was done!) Any suggestions/thoughts about how to proceed with this sort of thing welcome!

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4 Responses to Gödel Without Tears, again?

  1. Willemien Hoogendoorn says:

    I am active in the philosophy forum http://forums.philosophyforums.com/logic-and-philosophy-of-math/
    it is a free forum , but is wuite strickly moderated, so not the hassle of trolling ed.

    But i think it is quite american and most questions (in the logic homework section) are about logic problems stemming from exercizes from the book “language proof and Logic” (Fitch style natural deduction, not in the TYL list, i guess you don’t like fitch style)

    I think it does allow MathJax and Latex (or otherwise i think the owner will add that on request, he sees the forum as a way to make the best forum available ) i myself like to use just txt from my keyboard so no latex for me :)

    • Peter Smith says:

      1. Thanks for the pointer to philosophyforums.com (I may get in touch with the author of the bulletin board software which indeed seems to play nicely with LaTeX).

      2 I do like Fitch-style ND (Paul Teller uses it in his intro book which I warmly recommend). I’ve added a footnote about Language Proof and Logic — which in certain respects I rather like — to the next version of TYL.

  2. Tony Wagstaff says:

    There’s a coincidence! Hi Peter, I’m slowly working through your IGT, and just googled “forum discussing Gödel” and google sent me here.
    I thought it might be useful for you to hear what a potential audient for your possible Gödel forum would like to see in such a forum, which gives me a nice excuse to talk about myself! Hope it’s helpful.
    I have a BA Hons in Humanities with Philosophy & Literature, and since graduation have immersed myself in the philosophical foundations of mathematics, especially Wittgenstein’s take on it – the work of Victor Rodych is proving most enlightening in this regard. Gödel obviously figures highly in all this. My maths is fairly basic; I was ok at school, achieved a reasonable O level, but we’re talking 40 yrs ago! I can follow some of the proofs in your IGT, but some of them do stump me. It would be great to have some help with these.
    What I would like to clarify for myself is what, philosophically, ‘proof’, ‘truth’ and such terms mean in maths, as opposed to in physics, or in everyday language. So that’s another type of discussion I personally would find helpful in a Gödel forum.
    I’d also welcome detailed, practical, and not too mathematical, examples of, for instance, what it means for a formal theory to be recursively enumerable – given that I’m fairly adept in various computer-programming languages.
    One concern I’d have, is that my own take, currently, is that Gödel’s IT is important, and has value; but perhaps philosophical rather than mathematical value, its mathematical importance is more negative in that it shows how maths shouldn’t be conducted. I wouldn’t though want to be seen as a “swivel-eyed loon” wanting to disprove Gödel, even though I feel there are serious limitations as to what his theorems actually achieve.
    I hope this is useful for you. I’ll download your GWT, see how I get on with that.

  3. Rowsety Moid says:

    This is not quite on-topic, but I noticed that two books about Godel have just appeared in paperback (or are about to) at not unreasonable prices, and I wonder if you have any opinion of whether they’re worth reading or, indeed, buying. They are:

    After Gödel: Platonism and Rationalism in Mathematics and Logic, by Richard Tieszen

    Kurt Gödel: Essays for his Centennial (Lecture Notes in Logic), a collection edited by Solomon Feferman, Charles Parsons, Stephen G. Simpson (illustrious names all)

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