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Forever Undecided: A Puzzle Guide to Godel

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Raymond M. Smullyan

A challenging puzzle collection and an instructive and entertaining introduction to Kurt Godel's famous theorems, including incompleteness and undecidability. Much of the action of the book takes place on an imaginary and magical island, the Island … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri, Nonfiction Books, Mathematics, Godel, Gdels Theorem
Author: Raymond M. Smullyan
Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr
Date Published: November 30, 2000
1 review about Forever Undecided: A Puzzle Guide to Godel

Brain candy in a logical form

  • Mar 13, 2000
Do you believe that you know what you believe? Is it possible to believe only those things that are true? These questions are but two of the many addressed in this book by Professor Smullyan, and the answers will surprise you!
With most of the material in the form of puzzles, and nearly all of them solved, it is possible for a logical novice to read and understand the book. However, it is recommended that you find another source for explanations of the standard logical operators and read it first. Even then, you should not be surprised to find yourself rereading a solution thinking that the answer simply cannot be correct. But keep trying, as eventually you will begin to understand, and come to appreciate some of the unresolvable consequences of mathematics, the most precise of disciplines. For while Professor Smullyan may not be logically consistent, he is consistently logical. (This is of course a bad pun, but it is no worse than some of the groaners in the book.)
Finally, as the following example shows:

"The following dialogue ensues between a student and his theology professor:

Student: If I believe that God exists, then I will also believe that I will be saved?
Professor: It that is true, then God exists.
Student: If I believe that God exists, then will I be saved?
Professor: If God exists, then that is true.

Prove that if the professor is accurate and if the student believes the professor, then God must exist and the student will be saved"

You may also be given insight into one of the most fundamental questions regarding human existence.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.

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