Kurt Gödel: My philosophical viewpoint [1960]

My philosophical viewpoint

-- Kurt Friedrich Gödel, c. 1960.

1.     The world is rational.
2.     Human reason can, in principle, be developed more highly (through certain techniques).
3.     There are systematic methods for the solution of all problems (also art, etc.).
4.     There are other worlds and rational beings of a different and higher kind.
5.     The world in which we live is not the only one in which we shall live or have lived.
6.     There is incomparably more knowable a priori than is currently known.
7.     The development of human thought since the Renaissance is thoroughly intelligible (durchaus einsichtige).
8.     Reason in mankind will be developed in every direction.
9.     Formal rights comprise a real science.
10. Materialism is false.
11. The higher beings are connected to the others by analogy, not by composition.
12. Concepts have an objective existence.
13. There is a scientific (exact) philosophy and theology, which deals with concepts of the highest abstractness; and this is also most highly fruitful for science.
14. Religions are, for the most part, bad-- but religion is not.

Comments by Hao Wang:

"Gödel lists fourteen items which appear to be an attempt to outline his fundamental philosophical beliefs. These are optimistic beliefs and conjectures. They go far beyond `what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions' as Wittgenstein requires of philosophy. Unfortunately we know very little of Gödel's reasons for holding them. Undoubtedly the centrepiece is his belief that the world is rational. This key belief is an empirical generalisation from his interpretation of human experience, but what is known of his arguments is hardly convincing."
Published: Hao Wang: Section 9.4: `The meaning of the world: monadology and rationalistic optimism' in Chapter IX: `Gödel's approach to philosophy' of `A logical journey: from Gödel to philosophy', The MIT Press, Cambridge, USA, 1996, p. 316.


Popular Posts