Understanding, Expression and Unwelcome Logic


Gödel’s theorem
Turing machine


DOI: http://doi.org/10.26333/sts.xxxiv1.08

In this paper I will attempt to explain why the controversy surrounding the alleged refutation of Mechanism by Gödel’s theorem is continuing even after its unanimous refutation by logicians. I will argue that the philosophical point its proponents want to establish is a necessary gap between the intended meaning and its formulation. Such a gap is the main tenet of philosophical hermeneutics. While Gödel’s theorem does not disprove Mechanism, it is nevertheless an important illustration of the hermeneutic principle. The ongoing misunderstanding is therefore based in a distinction between a metalogical illustration of a crucial feature of human understanding, and a logically precise, but wrong claim. The main reason for the confusion is the fact that in order to make the claim logically precise, it must be transformed in a way which destroys its informal value. Part of this transformation is a clear distinction between the Turing Machine as a mathematical object and a machine as a physical device.



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