Re: Philosophy underlying LO? LO179

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Philosophy underlying LO? LO179
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 95 20:07 PST

Danny Bennett writes in LO177:

 > On Feb 17, 16:01, Joe Kilbride wrote in LO142:
 > [snip]
 >> Bacon-DesCartes-Hobbes-Spinoza-Leibniz. In studying these philosophers, it
 >> does not take long to understand how the mechanistic, "world as clockwork"
 >> notion came into being and evolved through the 16&1700s into our
 >> predominant worldview.

As kind of an interesting asides, the "world as clockwork" paradigm
has largely been discounted in this century. First (in 1928,) Godel
showed that axiomatic systems (be them mathematics, organizational
administration, business models, or social normative documents,) were
by very nature, either incomplete or contradictory, or both. (He is
also credited with discovering a logical inconsistency in the 5th
ammendment of the US Constitution-does the 5th ammendment-which
asserts the capability to amend the Constitution-include itself?) Then
(in 1938,) Turing showed that not only were axiomatic systems
incomplete, but, in addition, it was impossible to mechanize the
axiomatization process, and bewildered the last of the great "world as
clockwork" prophets, David Hilbert. (So, machines can't do it, but
humans can-this leads Roger Penrose to assert that human thinking is
not axiomatic, but is something different that we can't comprehend,
and thus can't be modeled, or more precisely, axiomatized-a view also
held by Richard Feynman.) Prior to the turn of the century, it was
generally considered that deterministic Newtonian systems were in
fact, predictable, until the mathematician Poincare proved
differently, (and founded the science of non-linear dynamic systems,
eg., "chaotic" systems, in lay terms.)  The information theorist have
had a field day with the "world as clockwork" paradigm in this
century-proving first that entropy is a physical entity, then on to
the fractal nature of some very significant and important processes in
physics, and continuing up through the fact (Chaitin, in the 1980's)
that most conceivable axiomatic systems (models) can not be shown to
be complete, (but some can, however.) The information theorist have
been looking at scientific induction, recently, and there is some
evidence (heaven forbid,) that scientific induction is logically
inconsistent with itself, (I wouldn't even attempt to speculate on the
ramifications if that stands, or even what it means.)

the Logician Rudy Rucker made the statement "the laws of logic are
pitifully few in number." I would suppose that, at least in some
legacy sense, that this has been the century of anti-science. As the
mathematician John Casti states, "Mathematics is a religion-it is
unique among the religions in that it can prove itself a religion."

        For what it is worth,


BTW, look at the number of Nobel Laureates mentioned above, and I never
mentioned a game-theorist. Kenneth Arrow. So there.

References (in bibtex format, to annoy Gene-you make a file out of
these, and put it in $HOME/.bibtex.bib, and then anyone breaking into
your account will be real impressed-just kidding, they are all "light"

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "John L. Casti",
    publisher = "William Morrow",
    title = "Searching for Certainty",
    year = 1990}

    address = "River Edge, New Jersey",
    author = "G. J. Chaitin",
    publisher = "World Scientific",
    title = "Information-Theoretic Incompleteness",
    year = 1992}

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "John L. Casti",
    publisher = "Avon Books",
    title = "Paradigms Lost",
    year = 1989}

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "John L. Casti",
    publisher = "John Wiley & Sons",
    title = "Alternate Realities",
    year = 1989}

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "Roger Penrose",
    publisher = "Oxford University Press",
    title = "The Emperor's New Mind",
    year = 1989}

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "John L. Casti",
    publisher = "HarperCollins",
    title = "Complexification",
    year = 1994}

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "Ivars Peterson",
    publisher = "W. H. Freeman and Company",
    title = "Newton's Clock: Chaos in the Solar System",
    year = 1993}

    address = "Boston, Massachusetts",
    author = "Rudy Rucker",
    publisher = "Houghton Mifflin Company",
    title = "Mind Tools",
    year = 1993}

    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "Andrew Hodges",
    publisher = "Simon & Schuster",
    title = "Alan Turing: The Enigma",
    year = 1983}


John Conover,,

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