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This paper contains the notes from a lecture on Godel's Incompleteness Theorem given to the Upper Arlington High School Math Club.

This paper contains the notes from a lecture on Godel's Incompleteness Theorem given to the Upper Arlington High School Math Club.

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Formal Systems and the Typographical Lens

Preliminaries to the Incompleteness Theorem

UAHS Math Club Lectures

The MU Puzzle

orThings That Are Utterly Irrelevant

There are

(3 + 1)

parts to any formal system.

!

0. Symbols

!

1. Axioms

!

2. Rules for manipulation

!!!

3. TheoremsLet

ʼ

s consider a simple example ... we

ʼ

ll call it the

MIU System

.

!

Symbols:

!

M

,

I

, and

U

(surprising, huh?)

!

Axiom:

!

!

MI

!

Rules:

!

!

1. If the last letter is

I

, you can add a

U

to the end.

!!!

2. If

M

x

is a theorem, so is

M

xx

.

!!!

3. If

III

occurs you can replace it with

U

.

!!!

4. If

UU

occurs anywhere, you can drop it.Okay, let

ʼ

s write some theorems beginning simply with our one axiom of

MI

.

!!!!

MI

!!!

MIU

!!!

MII

!!!

MIUIU

!!

MIIU

!

MIIII

!

MIIU

!!!

MIUIUIUIU

!

MUI

!

MIU

Exercise: Can you ﬁll in the rule that justify each arrow?

Notice that each new theorem can be derived simply by manipulating a string with a ﬁnite number of rules. Whyis this so important? The answer, as usual, is

Computer Science

. We can write a simple program that beginswith only the axiom

MI

and methodically generates all possible theorems. After all, “proof” in a formal system isnothing more than string manipulation, and this is the expertise of computers. Of course, there are an inﬁnitenumber of such theorems, so the program could never ﬁnish, but if we were interested in the proof of a theoremwe know to be true, we could simply let it run long enough and the following the string of manipulations thatbrought us to that point - hence the computer can generate the

proof

!In fact, to demonstrate this, I wrote a simple program to do just this and have attached a sheet of the theoremsthe program generated up through six iterations.Of course, there is a glaring limitation to this. Can you think of it?Can a computer determine if a string is

not a theorem

in

MIU

? For instance, can the computer tell us if

MU

is atheorem. (This is known as the

MU Puzzle

.) No. If we run the computer for three years and generated enoughtheorems to provide a lifetime of federal bailout plans and do not ﬁnd the string

MU

, can we conclude that

MU

isnot a theorem? No - perhaps given another three years the computer will ﬁnd it - perhaps not. We simply don

ʼ

tknow.However, if we jump out of the system, I think we can argue that

MU

is not a theorem. The trick is to investigatethe impact that the rules have on the number of

I

ʼ

s in a string. I claim that, beginning with a string that has one

I

we can never arrive at a string that has zero

I

ʼ

s.

Exercise: Can you?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The ﬁne Print: The present non-author hereby recognizes that the content where-within presented here-within, from thenceforth known as “the paper material” is the result not of his own creative endeavors but instead of a technical process of transposing said “the paper material” from the material paper (not to be confused with “the paper material”) of a previously existing body of work produced either in part or in totality by a one

D. Hofstader

known, the work that is not the author (not to be confused with the aforementioned “non-author”), as

G

ö

del, Escher, Bach

. In other words: I ripped it off.

Formalizing Number Theory

orWriting a Program that Completes All My Math Homework

Ok, the

MIU System

is contrived for simplicity

ʼ

s sake. What would be involved in formalizing and actual systemof numbers? Somehow, we need to take typical number theory statements such as

“5 is a prime number”

and

“1729 is the sum of two cubes”

and write them with a given set of

symbols

. We also need to come up with

rules

for manipulating the strings as well as starting strings, or

axioms

. Let

ʼ

s begin with our

symbols

:First, we would like to represent

numerals

. They will be listed as follows:

0

,

S0

,

SS0

,

SSS0

, etc.We also need the concept of

variables

, so the following will be valid symbols:

a

,

a

ʼ

,

a

ʼʼ

, etc.We have two

operations

and a

comparison

:

+

,

*

, and

=

We have

logical symbols

:

~

(not),

∧

(and),

∨

(or),

(implies)We have

delimiters

: [, ], <, >, (, )Also, we have

quantiﬁers

:

∃

u:

x

and

∀

u:

x

Next, let

ʼ

s look at

axioms

:

1.

∀

a : ~Sa = 0

2.

∀

a : (a + 0) = a

3.

∀

a :

∀

b : (a + Sb) = S(a + b)

4.

∀

a : (a * 0) = 0

5.

∀

a :

∀

b : (a * Sb) = ((a * b) + a)

Exercise: Can you “translate” these into plain English statements about numbers?

Finally, we need the

Rules

for manipulating strings.

1.

If

∀

u :

x

is a theorem where

x

contains the variable u, then replacing u with any speciﬁc value in

x

makes

x

a theorem. For example, since

∀

a : ~ Sa = 0 is a theorem, ~S0 = 0 is a theorem, as is ~SS0 = 0 is atheorem.

2.

If

x

is a theorem containing u, then so is

∀

u :

x

.

3.

∀

u : ~ can be replaced with ~

∃

u :

4.

If there is a theorem

T

containing a speciﬁc value, then

∃

b :

P,

where

P

is the version of

T

having replacedthe speciﬁc value with b. For Example: Since

∀

a : ~ Sa = 0 is a theorem, so is

∃

b :

∀

a : ~ Sa = b.

5.

If

r

=

s

is a theorem, so is

s

=

r

.

6.

If

r

=

s

and

s

=

t

are theorems, so is

r

=

t

.

7.

If

r

=

s

is a theorem, so is S

r

= S

t

.

8.

If S

r

= S

t

is a theorem, so is

r

=

s

.

9.

If

x

and

y

are theorems, so is <

x

∧

y

>.

10.

If <

x

∧

y

> is a theorem, so are

x

and

y

.

11.

The String ~~ can be inserted in and deleted from any theorem.

12.

If

x

and <

x

y

> are both theorems, so is

x

.

13.

<

x

y

> and <~

y

~

x

> are interchangeable.

14.

~<

x

∨

y

> and <~

x

∧

~

y

> are interchangeable.

15.

<

x

∨

y

> and <~

x

y

> are interchangeable.

16.

If I can begin with a string

S

and apply valid rules to turn

S

into

T

, then

S

T

is a theorem.

Exercises.

1.

Begin with

∀

a :

∀

b : (a + Sb) = S(a + b)

(

Axiom 3

) and prove that (S0 + S0) = SS0. (What is this proving?)

2.

Begin with

∀

a :

∀

b : (a * Sb) = ((a * b) + a)

(

Axiom 5

) and prove that (S0 * S0) = S0. (What is this proving?)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The ﬁne Print: The present non-author hereby recognizes that the content where-within presented here-within, from thenceforth known as “the paper material” is the result not of his own creative endeavors but instead of a technical process of transposing said “the paper material” from the material paper (not to be confused with “the paper material”) of a previously existing body of work produced either in part or in totality by a one

D. Hofstader

known, the work that is not the author (not to be confused with the aforementioned “non-author”), as

G

ö

del, Escher, Bach

. In other words: I ripped it off.

Non-essential Incompleteness

orWhy Induction Saves the Day

The system we have just developed can be referred to as

Typographical Number Theory

,

or

TNT

:

!

Typographical

because it is a system of manipulating strings;

!

Number

because it involves strings that

!

have

meaning about numbers

;

!

Theory

because that makes it sound more impressive.At this point, I think I can prove that this system is not complete. First, we had better be clear about what it meansfor a system to be complete?Let

ʼ

s illustrate with two non-examples:

First Attempt at Incompleteness:

TNT is incomplete because the string

“+]-S*7

” can never be formed as a theorem. Exercise: Why is this nonsense?

Second Attempt at Incompleteness:

TNT is incomplete because the string “

SSS0

” can never be formed as a theorem. Exercise: Why is this nonsense?

Third Attempt at Incompleteness:

TNT is incomplete because the string “

(S0 + S0 = SSS0)

” can never be formed as a theorem. Exercise: Why is this nonsense?

Fourth Attempt at Incompleteness:

TNT is incomplete because the string “

God exists

” can never be formed as a theorem. Moreover the string “

God does not exist

” can never be formed as a theorem. Exercise: Why is this nonsense?

Fifth Attempt at Incompleteness:

TNT is incomplete because if

H

is the statement “

This statement is false

”,then neither

H

nor

~H

are theorems in TNT. Exercise: Why is this nonsense?

So what does

complete

mean? It means that if

T

is a well-formed string in the system, in other words, if

T

(1) is

expressible by the symbols of TNT

and (2) contains

and actual truth value

, then either

T

or

~T

is a theorem.There are “rules” (different from the

Rules

) that describe how to make well formed sentences, but I don

ʼ

t want togo into this ... needless to say they are things that govern the “meaning” of the symbols. For instance, whenusing the symbol “+” it must exist in the form: “(? + ?)” where the question marks on either side are valid terms.Another example is when using the symbol “

∃

”, it must be of the following form: “

∃

u : ?” where u is a variableand ? is a formula of sorts.

The Last Attempt (for now) at Incompleteness:

!

I

can

prove that (0 + 0) = 0 (

Axiom 2

and

Rule 1

).

!

I

can

prove that (0 + S0) = S0 (This is more complicated ... can you prove this?)

!

I

can

prove that (0 + SS0) = SS0 (Can you prove this?)

!

In fact I

can

prove that (0 + a) = a

(0 + Sa) = a (Can you prove this?)Here is the bizarre thing: I cannot prove

∀

a : (0 + a) = a. Moreover, I cannot prove ~

∀

a : (0 + a) = a. Thus,

TNT

as it stands

cannot

decide

the truth value of

T =

∀

a : (0 + a) = a

even though it

can

decide it for anyparticular

a

. The system, as it stands, is incomplete. However, this is not

essential incompleteness

. I can ﬁll thehole by adding a new rule.

Rule 17.

!

Let X{

t

} be a formula with variable

t.

If

∀

u : X{u}

X{Su} is a theorem and X{0} is a

!!

theorem, then

∀

u : X{u} is also a theorem.(Why is this known as the

Rule of Induction

?)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The ﬁne Print: The present non-author hereby recognizes that the content where-within presented here-within, from thenceforth known as “the paper material” is the result not of his own creative endeavors but instead of a technical process of transposing said “the paper material” from the material paper (not to be confused with “the paper material”) of a previously existing body of work produced either in part or in totality by a one

D. Hofstader

known, the work that is not the author (not to be confused with the aforementioned “non-author”), as

G

ö

del, Escher, Bach

. In other words: I ripped it off.

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