Reflections on the Gödelian Argument


in The Freedom of the Will

Published in print September 1970 | ISBN: 9780198243434
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680687 | DOI:
Reflections on the Gödelian Argument

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Gödel's theorem enables us to crystallize out our intuitive notions and intimations of freedom in such a way that we can be sure that they apply to any form of physical determinism, however it may be articulated. Gödel's theorem provides a spanner rather than a premiss. It enables us to formulate the objection we felt to the determinist's maintaining that what he said was true, in spite of his being determined, in a way which is not liable to the charge of meaninglessness that can be made against most self-referential arguments. And because Gödel's theorem is an entirely formal result it applies to all reductive analyses of human behaviour in terms of rule-bound descriptions and regularity explanations, in whatever form they are put forward. They, just because they are rule-bound, cannot cope with the Gödelian formula, whereas we, since we are not, can.

Keywords: Gödel; Gödelian theorem; freedom; physical determinism

Chapter.  1174 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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