Gödel’s Proof

Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen Dept. of Mathematics Imperial College

Kurt Gödel 24.4.06-14.1.78

H.J. Jensen, Dept. of Math., IC

ON FORMALLY UNDECIDABLE PROPOSITIONS OF PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA AND RELATED SYSTEMS 11 by Kurt Gödel, Vienna 1 The development of mathematics in the direction of greater exactness has–as is well known–led to large tracts of it becoming formalized, so that proofs can be carried out according to a few mechanical rules. The most comprehensive formal systems yet set up are, on the one hand, the system of Principia Mathematica (PM)2 and, on the other, the axiom system for set theory of Zermelo-Fraenkel (later extended by J. v. Neumann).3 These two systems are so extensive that all methods of proof used in mathematics today have been formalized in them, i.e. reduced to a few axioms and 27. rules of inference. It may therefore be [($u,v)u,v £ & x = u * R(b Gl rules & Su x(n|y) º ez {z £ [Pr(l(x)+l(y))]x+y & surmised thatxthese axioms and x) * v of inference are & n = l(u)+1]} to decide all mathematical questions which can in any z = u * y * v also sufficient way at all be expressed formally in the systems concerned. It is shown below that this is x(n|y) derivesand thaton both the systems mentioned n-th term of fact relatively Su not the case, from x in substituting y in place of the there are in x (it simple problems in l(x)). being assumed that 0 < n £the theory of ordinary whole numbers4 which [174] 28. cannot be decided from v Fr n,x & not ($p)[n < p is not due in p,x]} 0 St v,x º en {n £ l(x) & the axioms. This situation £ l(x) & v Fr some way to the specialSt v,x º of the systems set up, but holds for a < p <extensive& v Fr of formal (k+1) nature en {n < k St v,x & v Fr n,x & ($p)[n very k St v,x class p,x]}2 systems, including, in particular, all those arising from

H.J. Jensen, Dept. of Math., IC

The essence
First theorem of undecidability: If axiomatic theory is consistent, there exist theorems which can neither be proved or disproved


Dept..H. 4 . Jensen.J. of Math. IC The essence Second theorem of undecidability: There is no constructive procedure which will prove axiomatic theory to be consistent.

. of Math.J. IC . Jensen. Dept.Euclid’s Elements 23 definitions 5 postulates lived circa 300 BC 465 propositions 5 H.

Euclid’s Elements The axioms It is possible to draw a straight line from any point to any point. Dept. IC . That all right angles equal one another.. Parallel lines don’t cross 6 H. to produce a finite straight line continuously in a straight line. of Math.J. to describe a circle with any centre and radius. Jensen.

IC . Say in Euclid’s geometry 7 H.Euclid’s Elements Consistency Can mutually inconsistent statements be derive from a set of axioms. Jensen.. Dept. of Math.J.

Euclid’s Elements In other words Can we be sure no one some day derives a proposition which contradicts another proposition. 8 H. Jensen.J. of Math. Dept.. IC .

Dept.J. of Math.. Jensen.PM 9 H. IC .

. of Math.Undecidable Russell’s paradox: Two types of sets: Normal those who don’t contain themselves: A A & Non-normal those who do contain themselves B B 10 H.J. Jensen. IC . Dept.

Dept. IC B 11 .. Jensen.J.Undecidable Examples: Normal set: A = the set of MPhys 2 student A A Non-normal: B = the set of all thinkable things B H. of Math.

.Undecidable Define: N = Set of all Normal sets Question: Is N normal? Assume N is Normal then N is member of itself.e.J. since N contains all Normal Sets per its definition i. N N. Dept. of Math. Jensen.. But if N N then N is non-Normal So N being Normal implies N being non-Normal ! H. IC 12 .

Undecidable Define: N = Set of all Normal sets Assume N is non-Normal then N is member of itself per definition of non-Normal. and N contains per definition Normal sets. N is Normal . Dept. of Math. So N being non-Normal implies N being Normal ! 13 H. i. Jensen.e.J... But if N is non-Normal it is a member of itself. IC .

IC .J. of Math..The problem is Self-reference 14 H. Jensen. Dept.

Jensen. IC . Dept..How to determine the truth of: “I am a liar!” Epimenides’ paradox 15 H.J. of Math.

Dept.J. x2 = 9 meta-mathematics x=4 is not a solution of x+2=3. Jensen.The strategy of Gödel’s proof Distinguish between: mathematics & x = x.. of Math. IC . PM is consistent 16 H.

J. Dept..The strategy of Gödel’s proof Enumeration of formalised system: Signs: ¬ mb del nu Gö er 1 2 3 4 not or If … then there is an equals zero immediate successor 17 H. of Math. IC = 0 s 5 6 7 . Jensen.

Jensen..J. of Math. Dept.The strategy of Gödel’s proof Enumeration of formalised system: Math formulas: um ödel n G ber ( x )( x = sy ) 28 34 L There is a number x following right after y 18 H. IC .

Jensen. IC .J.The strategy of Gödel’s proof Enumeration of formalised system: Meta-maths: The formula G is not demonstrable using the rules of PM ber l num öde G 19 H. Dept.. of Math.

J. IC . Dept.The crunch Gödel constructed a formula G for which he showed that: G is demonstrable non G is demonstrable 20 H. of Math.. Jensen.

Jensen..More crunch The meta-mathematical content of G is: G= ‘The formula G is not demonstrable’ Or formally within PM: ¬( x ) Dem( x.J. IC . Dept. Sub(n.17. n)) 21 H. of Math.

per definition. of Math.J. though its TRUTH cannot be proved within PM 22 H. Jensen.And more crunch G= ‘The formula G is not demonstrable’ So since G cannot be demonstrated. TRUE. Dept. it is.. IC .

. of Math.The Conclusion All axiomatic systems will contain true propositions which cannot be proved within the system And contain propositions which cannot be determined whether true of false 23 H.J. IC . Jensen. Dept.

of Math.J. IC . Dept.Some consequences: The continuum hypothesis: Cantor No set can have a number of elements between the cardinality of the natural numbers and the cardinality of the real numbers 24 H.. Jensen.

~11 ~22 ~33 x x x 25 .. Dept. of Math.Cardinality: The real numbers cannot be countered Proof: assume the opposite Cantor r1 = 0. x11 x12 x13 L r2 = 0. x21 x22 x23 L r3 = 0. IC r = 0. x31 x32 x33 L M H. x11 x22 x33 r = 0.J. Jensen.

. IC Cantor . Dept.but could not prove it. of Math. 26 H.J.Cardinality: So clearly: # reals > # integers But: is there a set with a number of elements in between? Cantor said: “No” . Jensen.

. IC . Jensen.Consequences continued: The continuum hypothesis: Was the first problem in Hilbert’s list of 23 unsolved important problems.J. Dept. of Math. Paul Cohen showed in 1963 that the continuum hypothesis is undecidable 27 H.

They often have a kind of insight into the Platonic realm which exists independently of us. of Math..J. 28 H. Dept. Jensen. IC .More consequences: Truth cannot be identified with provability Roger Penrose: Creative mathematicians do not think in a mechanistic way.

There exist more true statements than the countable number of truths that can be recursively deduced from a finite set of axioms.More consequences: We cannot build one all embracing explanation of everything based on one finite set of axioms.J. IC . 29 H. of Math.. Dept. Jensen.

The world is too complex for a `finitistic’ axiomatic approach to suffice. Dept. of Math. Jensen. IC .J.. 30 H. Creativity is needed at all levels of description.

IC .. Jensen. Dept.So where does this leave The Theory of Everything ? 31 H. of Math.J.

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