Category Archives: Uncategorized

Undergraduate Teaching Fellows

We have some limited spots available for Undergraduate Teaching Fellows. If you have taken Intro, Ethics, or Social Ethics, and are interested in serving, please send me a note (charlie.huenemann@usu.edu). The basic idea is that you assist an instructor and serve as a tutor, and get paid $750 for the semester.

Explaining Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in words of one syllable or less

As the semester wraps up, and students are busily trying to write clearly about difficult stuff, they may be encouraged by this effort of George Boolos to explain Gödel’s second Incompleteness theorem in words of one syllable:

Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem
Explained in Words of One Syllable

First of all, when I say “proved”, what I will mean is “proved with the aid of
the whole of math”. Now then: two plus two is four, as you well know. And,
of course, it can be proved that two plus two is four (proved, that is, with the
aid of the whole of math, as I said, though in the case of two plus two, of
course we do not need the whole of math to prove that it is four). And, as
may not be quite so clear, it can be proved that it can be proved that two plus
two is four, as well. And it can be proved that it can be proved that it can be
proved that two plus two is four. And so on. In fact, if a claim can be proved,
then it can be proved that the claim can be proved. And that too can be
proved.

Now, two plus two is not five. And it can be proved that two plus two is not
five. And it can be proved that it can be proved that two plus two is not five,
and so on.

Thus: it can be proved that two plus two is not five. Can it be proved as well
that two plus two is five? It would be a real blow to math, to say the least, if
it could. If it could be proved that two plus two is five, then it could be
proved that five is not five, and then there would be no claim that could not
be proved, and math would be a lot of bunk.

So, we now want to ask, can it be proved that it can’t be proved that two plus
two is five? Here’s the shock: no, it can’t. Or, to hedge a bit: if it can be
proved that it can’t be proved that two plus two is five, then it can be proved
as well that two plus two is five, and math is a lot of bunk. In fact, if math is
not a lot of bunk, then no claim of the form “claim X can’t be proved” can be
proved.

So, if math is not a lot of bunk, then, though it can’t be proved that two plus
two is five, it can’t be proved that it can’t be proved that two plus two is five.
By the way, in case you’d like to know: yes, it can be proved that if it can be
proved that it can’t be proved that two plus two is five, then it can be proved
that two plus two is five.

 

Invitation from Institute of Religion

I received the note below. It’s aimed at Philosophy Club, so basically any students in philosophy are eligible. If you’re interested in attending, please send me (Huenemann) a note, and I’ll reply! (My email is charlie.huenemann[at]usu.edu)

 

Professor Huenemann,

[…] I am a representative for the Campus Relations Committee from the Institute of Religion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are hosting an interfaith dinner on the 13th of November [5 – 6:30 p.m., in the campus Institute Building] and would love it if you and any other people from your faith group came and joined us! Our goal is to build stronger relationships among the different faith groups on campus so that we all have a stronger support system.

Please RSVP the number of people attending from your group at least a week in advance (by November 6th) so that we can have enough food for everyone and can adjust for any dietary needs people may have.

Philosophy courses, Spring 2020

See the listing in the document attached below!

Two special notes. First, PHIL 4900 (“Ancient Theories of Nature”), taught by Gary McGonagill, counts as meeting our requirement for a course in either ancient or medieval philosophy. So you can meet the requirement by taking the class. Plus, it should be very interesting!
Also, if you are nearing the end of your philosophy degree, do consider taking the capstone course (PHIL 4990). It is your chance to develop your own philosophy, and help your classmates to develop theirs.