Underlying Formalisms LO6252

Wed, 27 Mar 1996 06:53:56 -0500

Replying to LO6239, in which Grant said:

>John --
>I'm curious if you see any relationship between the work of Godel and the
>(later) Wittgenstein. My vague understanding of Wittgenstein's arguement
>is that words (all language) cannot, ultimately, be'grounded', that all
>language is 'a language game' made up by the players in a social context.
>Does this not parallel Godel's view of mathematical formalisms?
>-- Grant Harris.

Yes, I think it does. Even so, two side points apply:

o A formal language developed by a mathematician typically has a very few
key terms from which the rest of the language springs operationally, which
is potentially convenient

o The formal language makes it possible to be a lot less imprecise than
natural language, which is booby-trapped at every turn

John N. Warfield



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