Tue, 31 Jul 2012
Rudy Rucker and Kurt Goedel
My major interest is in parsing theory.
according to Google Analytics,
most of my web hits are for a side interest.
A few years ago I discovered
Lost Morgenstern Document,
an account of
Kurt Gödel's citizenship hearing which had
gone missing for so long there was doubt it had
Einstein was at the hearing and
plus the fact it's a good yarn,
make the Lost Morgenstern Document
a matter of fairly wide interest.
This post is about another Gödel document
which recently surfaced.
This document does not make a good yarn.
In fact, in terms of reading difficulty,
it ranges from the moderately hard to the low-grade cryptographic.
are considerably more important
than the Lost Morgenstern Document.
Rudy Rucker (a well-known sci-fi writer who deserves
to be better known)
talked with Gödel
several times and took notes,
notes which he has just put online.
This is a significant event.
Gödel had unconventional views on a wide range
Gödel avoided controversy,
in part out of common sense,
and in part because he suffered from paranoia.
So he avoided publishing unpopular views except
when he had watertight proofs.
But, when talking to Rucker,
and even argued.
Rucker was almost,
but not quite unique.
Hao Wang talked with Gödel at much greater length,
and Wang's notes remain the best sources for
the ideas that Gödel would not commit to writing.
But Wang's conversations were restricted by Wang's interests.
For example, Gödel
had thought a lot about the nature of time.
He'd published a paper on closed timelike curves,
what in a loose sense could be called time travel.
Gödel's result was pioneering.
When Gödel wrote,
professional physicists did not write about time travel.
Gödel made it possible for the topic,
even if it was still somewhat suspect,
to be taken seriously.
Wang, however, was not interested.
Whenever the physics
or philosophy of time
Wang changed the subject.
Based on the existence of closed timelike curves
as solutions to the mathematics of relativity,
is the possibility
of time travel to be taken seriously?
can you travel back and prevent yourself from being born?
Rucker's few pages
are, and will probably remain,
the most direct evidence we have of
Gödel thoughts on these and
a heterogeny of issues.
posted at: 16:41 |
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