The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic
Volume 4, Number 2, June 1998
G¨ODEL’S PATH FROM THE INCOMPLETENESS THEOREMS (1931)TO PHENOMENOLOGY (1961)
In a lecture manuscript written around 1961 (G¨odel *1961/?), G¨odeldescribesaphilosophicalpathfromtheincompletenesstheoremstoHusserl’sphenomenology. It is known that G¨odel began to study Husserl’s work in1959 and that he continued to do so for many years. During the 1960s,for example, he recommended the sixth investigation of Husserl’s
to several logicians for its treatment of categorial intuition(Wang 1997, p. 164). While G¨odel may not have been satisﬁed with whathe was able to obtain from philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology, henonetheless continued to recommend Husserl’s work to logicians as late asthe 1970s. In this paper I present and discuss the kinds of arguments that ledG¨odel to the work of Husserl. Among other things, this should help to shedadditional light on G¨odel’s philosophical and scientiﬁc ideas and to showto what extent these ideas can be viewed as part of a uniﬁed philosophicaloutlook. Some of the arguments that led G¨odel to Husserl’s work are onlyhinted at in G¨odel’s 1961 paper, but they are developed in much more detailin G¨odel’s earlier philosophical papers (see especially 1934, *193?, 1944,1947, *1951, *1953/59). In particular, I focus on arguments concerningHilbert’s program and an early version of Carnap’s program.
SinceHusserl’sworkisnotgenerallyknown to mathematical logicians, it may be helpful to mention brieﬂy a fewdetailsabout his background. Husserlreceivedhis doctoratein mathematicsin 1883 with a thesis on the calculus of variations. He then served for a brief period as an assistant to Weierstrass in Berlin. His interests soon turned tothephilosophy of logicand mathematics. Eventually hisphilosophical inter-ests widened considerably, although he continued to write on philosophicalissues about logic. He was personally acquainted with Cantor, Zermelo,
Received June 12, 1997; revised March 20, 1998.IwouldliketothanktheSpring1997LogicLunchgroupatStanfordforhelpfulcomments,especially Solomon Feferman, Grisha Mints, Johan van Benthem, Aldo Antonelli and EdZalta. I would also like to thank Andreas Blass and an anonymous referee for comments onan earlier draft of this paper.
1998, Association for Symbolic Logic1079-8986/98/0402-0003/$3.30