Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel (Great Discoveries)

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9780393051698: Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel (Great Discoveries)

An introduction to the life and thought of Kurt G odel, who transformed our conception of math forever--Provided by publisher.

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Review:

Kurt Gödel is often held up as an intellectual revolutionary whose incompleteness theorem helped tear down the notion that there was anything certain about the universe. Philosophy professor, novelist, and MacArthur Fellow Rebecca Goldstein reinterprets the evidence and restores to Gödel's famous idea the meaning he claimed he intended: that there is a mathematical truth--an objective certainty--underlying everything and existing independently of human thought. Gödel, Goldstein maintains, was an intellectual heir to Plato whose sense of alienation from the positivists and postmodernists of the 1940s was only ameliorated by his friendship with another intellectual giant, Albert Einstein. As Goldstein writes, "That his work, like Einstein's, has been interpreted as not only consistent with the revolt against objectivity but also as among its most compelling driving forces is ... more than a little ironic."

This and other paradoxes of Gödel's life are woven throughout Incompleteness, with biographical details taking something of a back seat to the philosophical and mathematical underpinnings of his theories. As an introduction to one of the three most profound scientific insights of the 20th century (the other two being Einstein's relativity and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle), Incompleteness is accessible, yet intellectually rigorous. Goldstein succeeds admirably in retiring inaccurate interpretations of Gödel's ideas. --Therese Littleton

About the Author:

MacArthur Fellow and Whiting-Award winner Rebecca Goldstein novels include The Mind-Body Problem and Properties of Light. She lives in New York City.

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Rebecca Goldstein
Editorial: W. W. Norton & Company (2005)
ISBN 10: 0393051692 ISBN 13: 9780393051698
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Rebecca Goldstein
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