Logic and Language

Logic and Language

Copyright © James R Meyer 2012 - 2017 www.jamesrmeyer.com

This page is keyboard accessible:

• Use**Tab**, **Shift + Tab **keys to traverse the main menu. To enter a sub-menu use the **Right Arrow** key. To leave a sub-menu use the **Left Arrow** or the **Escape** key.

• The**Enter** or the **Space** key opens the active menu item.

• To skip the menu and move to the main content, press**Tab** after the page loads to reveal a skip button.

• To get back to the top of the page anytime, press the**Home** key.

• For more information, click here: Accessibility Close this tip.

• Use

• The

• To skip the menu and move to the main content, press

• To get back to the top of the page anytime, press the

• For more information, click here: Accessibility Close this tip.

Note: Full functionality of this web page requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser.

There is an interesting webpage (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Pseudomathematics) that states:

*“Pseudo-mathematics is any work, study or activity which claims to be mathematical, but refuses to work within the standards of proof and rigour which mathematics is subject to … Unfortunately for practitioners of pseudo-mathematics, mathematics is an absolute science of black and white - everything is right or wrong. There is no often scope for debate or discussion, as only mathematical proof is relevant.”*

If only everything was as black and white as that suggests. The reality is that there are numerous mathematical statements which are widely accepted as correct by the vast majority of mathematicians, in spite of there not actually being a rigorous proof of the statement. The fact is that a mathematician cannot possibly examine every proof, and that means that he often relies on what he perceives to be the commonly accepted belief. In most cases, the commonly accepted belief that there is a rigorous proof of a certain mathematical statement is correct, but that is not always the case.

There are well-documented instances where errors in mathematical proofs have not been discovered for several years after they were first published, including proofs that received widespread attention (see, for example, Kempe’s flawed proof and Tait’s flawed proof). And these were not proofs where one language makes statements about another language, and where there is a possibility of language confusion.

What is so curious about mathematicians is that you would expect that if someone points out that a proof is not sufficiently rigorous, or that it includes an inadmissible step, the mathematician would be grateful that that was brought to his attention. But what actually happens? When it is pointed out that certain proofs, such as various proofs of incompleteness, including Gödel’s original proof and many other proofs of incompleteness (see The flaw in Gödel’s incompleteness proof: here and Analysis of incompleteness proofs: here) are not actually as rigorous as a mathematical proof should be, mathematicians refuse to accept the facts. When it is pointed out that such a proof includes an unproven assumption instead of a rigorous logical argument, or when it is pointed out that a step in the proof relies on a step that is mathematically inadmissible, they seem to take it as an affront, as an insult to their self-perception as bastions of absolute correctness.

For more on why the use of term *‘mathematical proof’* can mean something quite different to a perfectly rigorous logically reasoned argument, see the page Mathematical Proof.

So, we know that there must be proofs that are not in fact rigorous mathematical proofs, but which, for one reason or another, have been accepted as correct, in spite of failing to meet the criteria for a rigorous mathematical proof. Surely this is not acceptable? Preconceived notions about the correctness of proofs should be set aside, and proofs should be subjected to a logical critical analysis. If a proof fails the test that requires it to be a rigorous mathematical proof, then its result should not be accepted. This rooting out of pseudo-proofs should be just one step in an inevitable, if slow, step towards a more complete understanding of how language, logic and mathematics are interrelated. Mathematics and logic cannot be fully understood unless the role of language is taken in account. Confusions such as those that appear in Gödel’s proof of incompleteness (see The flaw in Gödel’s proof: here) and various other proofs of incompleteness (see Analysis of Incompleteness Proofs: here) masquerade as genuine logic and genuine mathematics, whereas in reality they are the antithesis of real logic and real mathematics.

Diverse opinions and criticisms are welcome, but messages that are frivolous, irrelevant or devoid of logical basis will be blocked (comments will be checked before appearing on this site). Difficulties in understanding the site content are usually best addressed by contacting me by e-mail. Note: you will be asked to provide an e-mail address - this will only be used to notify you of replies to your comments - it will never be used for any other purpose, will never be displayed and does not require verification. Comments are common to the entire website, so please indicate what section of the site you are commenting on.

If you cannot see any comments below, it may be that a plug-in on your browser is blocking Disqus comments from loading. Avast anti-virus in particular is known to do this, especially with Internet Explorer and Safari. See Disqus Browser plug-in/extension conflicts or Why isn’t the comment box loading?.

Please wait for comments to load …

It has come to my notice that, when asked about the demonstration of the flaw in his proof (see A Fundamental Flaw in an Incompleteness Proof by Peter Smith PDF), Smith refuses to engage in any logical discussion, and instead attempts to deflect attention away from any such discussion. If any other reader has tried to engage with Smith regarding my demonstration of the flaw, I would be interested to know what the outcome was.

There is a new addition to the page Yet another flawed incompleteness proof, where Berto’s proof of incompleteness in his book *There’s something about Gödel* comes under scrutiny.

I found that making, adding or deleting footnotes in the traditional manner proved to be a major pain. So I developed a different system for footnotes which makes inserting or changing footnotes a doddle. You can check it out at Easy Footnotes for Web Pages (Accessibility friendly).

I have now added a new section to my paper on Russell O’Connor’s claim of a computer verified incompleteness proof. This shows that the flaw in the proof arises from a reliance on definitions that include unacceptable assumptions - assumptions that are not actually checked by the computer code. See also the new page Representability.

There is now a new page on Chaitin’s Constant (Chaitin’s Omega), which demonstrates that Chaitin has failed to prove that it is actually algorithmically irreducible.

13 May 2015 Good Math, Bad Math?

16th Mar 2015 Bishops Dancing with Pixies?

23rd Feb 2015 Artificial Intelligence

31 Mar 2015 Cranks and Crackpots

For convenience, there are now two pages on this site with links to various material relating to Gödel and the Incompleteness Theorem

– a page with general links:

– and a page relating specifically to the Gödel mind-machine debate:

All pages on this website are printer friendly, and will print the main content in a convenient format. Note that the margins are set by your browser print settings.

Note: for some browsers JavaScript must be enabled for this to operate correctly.

Comments on this site are welcome, please see the comment section.

Please note that this web site, like any other is a collection of various statements. Not all of this web site is intended to be factual. Some of it is personal opinion or interpretation.

If you prefer to ask me directly about the material on this site, please send me an e-mail with your query, and I will attempt to reply promptly.

Feedback about site design would also be appreciated so that I can improve the site.

Copyright © James R Meyer 2012 - 2017

www.jamesrmeyer.com