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École normale supérieure

Archives 2009

Gödel’s Path from Hilbert and Carnap to Husserl

JEUDI 15 JANVIER, de 16h à 18h, salle Pasteur (Pavillon Pasteur, 1er étage)

Conférence organisée par Jocelyn Benoist (Paris 1 / Archives Husserl) et Dominique Pradelle (Paris 4 / Archives Husserl) :

Between 1953 and 1959 Gödel drafted six versions of a paper on Carnap’s early view of mathematics, and in 1959 he started to study Husserl’s philosophy. Hao Wang, writing about Gödel’s decision to abandon the Carnap paper and to study Husserl’s work, says that "It seems to me that the two decisions may have been related. He had, he once told me, proved conclusively in this [Carnap] essay that mathematics is not syntax of language but said little about what mathematic is. At the time he probably felt that Husserl’s work promised to yield convincing reasons for his own beliefs about what mathematics is." 

In this lecture I want to follow up on Wang’s comment and focus on some elements of Gödel’s critique of Carnap in the versions of his Carnap paper "Is Mathematics Syntax of Language ?" (*1953/9) in order to show how these are linked to Gödel’s discussion of Husserl’s philosophy in "The Modern Development of Mathematics in the Light of Philosophy" (*1961/ ?). Investigation of the conceptual links between these texts can help us to understand how Gödel saw Husserlian phenomenology and to indicate in greater detail what he hoped to obtain from his study of it. This kind of investigation is also very important for understanding what Husserlian phenomenology might still have to offer to students of logical theory, the philosophy of mathematics, and the exact sciences.