The Plausible Impact of Phenomenology on Gödel's Thoughts

Theoria 85 (2):145-170 (2019)
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Abstract

It is well known that in his later years Gödel turned to a systematic reading of phenomenology, whose founder, Edmund Husserl, was highly esteem as a philosopher who sought to elevate philosophy to the standards of a rigorous science. For reasons purportedly related to his earlier attraction to Leibnizian monadology, Gödel was particularly interested in Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and the way it may shape the discussion on the nature of mathematical‐logical objects and the meaning and internal coherence of primitive terms in mathematics. This article, which is less interested in historical facts that are amply presented in other scholars’ accounts, rather tries to point to the mostly indirect influence that the ideas of transcendental phenomenology, including Gödel's reported reference to the notion of (inner) time, had on his philosophy of mathematics, especially with a view to key independent questions of mathematical foundations. A main source for Gödel's philosophical‐epistemological views (of course in addition to his own published material) will be his recorded discussions with H. Wang and S. Toledo, as well as various articles and drafts found in his Nachlass.

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Stathis Livadas
University of Patras (Alumnus)

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