Kurt Gödel is said to be one of the most important philosophers of modern time and perhaps the most important since Aristotle. His theories affected people all over the world and gained him recognition in the highest social circles of mathematics and philosophy. He left a legacy that will never be forgotten.
1. Founded the Modern Meta-Mathematical Era
Many said that Gödel founded the modern meta-mathematical era in mathematical logic. His incompleteness theorems are among the most significant achievements in logical science. They are counted among the handful of landmark theoretical achievements of the 20th century.
2. Inspirational Theories of Godel
The theories of Gödel touched practically every field of mathematical logic and he influenced theorists from almost every field. He even inspired many of the fields of mathematics that are currently being worked on today.
3. Mathematical Platonism
In the philosophical works of Gödel, he basically formulated and defended mathematical Platonism. He taught that mathematics was a descriptive science and that the whole idea of mathematical truth is objective in nature.
4. From a Well-Educated Family
Kurt Gödel was born in April of 1906 in what is now known as the Czech Republic. His parents were successful and well educated. His father was a businessman and his mother was also a very cultured woman. Gödel remained close to his mother throughout his life as is evidenced by their correspondence all over the world. His family was well off and provided for him educationally so he might expand his mind.
5. Exceptional Student
Gödel was an exceptional student in primary school and specifically in mathematics, language and religion. After graduation from the Gymnasium in Brno, Gödel began attending the University of Vienna where he studies physics and philosophy. He was originally very interested in physics and took many classes on this subject in his undergraduate years. He also made some significant contributions to relativity theory in 1947, due, in part, to his studies in physics.
6. Vienna Circle
While Gödel was attending Vienna University, he also became involved with the Vienna Circle. The group became known as a bunch of logical positivists and the movement of logical positivism spread in European philosophy. Although Gödel didn’t consider himself a positivist, his exposure to the material could have affected his future work.
7. Immigration to the United States in 1940
Gödel immigrated to the United States in 1940 after several personal problems and political disagreements led him to determine this was the best idea. He was identified as someone who could serve in the Nazi military in 1939 which is another reason he chose to leave Austria. He had visited the U.S. several times before but it was still a very difficult transition for him and his wife; both were granted their American citizenship in 1948.
8. What Sense is Intuitionistic Logic Constructive
Gödel gave a lecture at Yale that was considered one of his most significant and groundbreaking called In What Sense is Intuitionistic Logic Constructive. An additional paper on the same topic was published in 1958. Gödel also gave significant speeches and lectures at Brown University and Princeton.
9. Suspicious Death
Many people believe that the circumstances surrounding the death of Gödel were somewhat suspicious. He was afraid of being poisoned and insisted that his wife taste all of his food before he ate it. However, she was hospitalized for six months and was, therefore, unable to taste his food for him and therefore he refused to eat. He died in 1978, at the age of 71; the death certificate said he died from starvation and inanition linked to a personality disorder. Gödel suffered periods of mental instability throughout his life.
10. Friends With Einstein
Kurt Gödel and Albert Einstein were great friends and walked together from the Institute for Advanced Study. It was also very significant and important to Einstein that he and Gödel were friends and got to spend time together with each other.
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