Kurt Gödel’s philosophical viewpoint, and his proof of the existence of God.

Explanation of the terms  in the image above. This is Godel’s formalized proof of the existence of God.

P(psi) P is “positive”
G(x) x have the property God
ess. essential
E existing
(bullet) Necessary

(Kurt Gödel (1995). “Ontological Proof”. Collected Works: Unpublished Essays & Lectures, Volume III. pp. 403–404. Oxford University Press.

Gödel left in his papers a  fourteen-point outline of his philosophical beliefs, that are dated around 1960. They show his deep belief in the rational structure of the world. Here are his 14 points: 1

  1. The world is rational.
  2. Human reason can, in principle, be developed more highly (through certain techniques).
  3. There are systematic methods for the solution of all problems (also art, etc.).
  4. There are other worlds and rational beings of a different and higher kind.
  5. The world in which we live is not the only one in which we shall live or have lived.
  6. There is incomparably more knowable a priori than is currently known.
  7. The development of human thought since the Renaissance is thoroughly intelligible (durchaus einsichtige).
  8. Reason in mankind will be developed in every direction.
  9. Formal rights comprise a real science.
  10. Materialism is false.
  11. The higher beings are connected to the others by analogy, not by composition.
  12. Concepts have an objective existence.
  13. There is a scientific (exact) philosophy and theology, which deals with concepts of the highest abstractness; and this is also most highly fruitful for science.
  14. Religions are, for the most part, bad– but religion is not.

Based on this far-reaching rational belief, he thought he can proof the existence of God, in a modified (and logically consistent) version of Anselm’s ontological proof.  I admit that his argument needs a lot of explanation. Gödel was a theist, not a pantheist, and he also rejected Einsteins idea of an impersonal God. He saw himself in the tradition of Leibniz, not Spinoza. It seems that Gödel worked on the “ontological proof” for a long time, and finally he handed it over to a friend in 1970. It was published in 1987.

Notes:

  1. In: Wang, Hao. A Logical Journey: From Gödel to Philosophy. A Bradford Book, 1997. Print. p.316.

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. […] Kurt Gödel’s philosophical viewpoint, and his proof of the existence of God. […]

    Reply
  2. Godel’s “proof” really caused me to wonder if he understood his own incompleteness theorem. How can one prove a superset from a subset? Is this possible?

    Reply
  3. Good blog. Interesting topics. Even with your explanation, I can’t read Godel’s Proof.

    Reply
  4. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that
    I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    Reply

Leave a Reply