Event Detail

Fri Oct 4, 2013
60 Evans Hall, 4:10–6 PM
Logic Colloquium
Richard Tieszen (San Jose State University)
Monads and Mathematics: Goedel, Leibniz, and Husserl

On the basis of his discussions with Kurt Gödel, Hao Wang (A Logical Journey: From Gödel to Philosophy, p. 166) tells us that “Gödel’s own main aim in philosophy was to develop metaphysics – specifically, something like the monadology of Leibniz transformed into exact theory – with the help of phenomenology”. Gödel began to study Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology in 1959. In 1928 Husserl (“Phenomenology”, Encyclopedia Britannica draft) wrote that “The ideal of the future is essentially that of phenomenologically based ("philosophical”) sciences, in unitary relation to an absolute theory of monads". In the Cartesian Meditations and other works Husserl identifies ‘monads’ (in his sense) with ‘transcendental egos in their full concreteness’. In the first part of my talk I explore some prospects for a Gödelian monadology that result from this identification, with reference to texts of Gödel, Wang’s reports, and aspects of Leibniz’s original monadology. The latter part of the talk will be on human monads, the incompleteness theorems, and (Turing) machines. (For background see my recent book, After Gödel: Platonism and Rationalism in Mathematics and Logic, Oxford University Press.)