Les démons de Gödel


Les démons de Gödel. Logique et folie, Paris, Seuil, “Points-Seuil”, 2012 (1st edition 2007).

Kurt Gödel (1906-1978) was one of the greatest logicians in history. His incompleteness theorem, published in 1931, is perhaps the most significant mathematical proposition of the 20th century. It has shaken the foundations of mathematics. It has been the subject of endless philosophical commentary and countless abuses. In his Nachlass, Gödel has left thousands of pages of notes. The eccentricities of Gödel’s life were already known. He almost died of starvation for fear of being poisoned. His notes, deciphered and studied here for the first time in French, reveal an even more surprising personality. They show that Gödel believed in angels and in the devil. Over the years, he tried to assemble these strange ideas into a logically coherent system. The apparent “madness” of a brilliant mind raises questions about the very nature of logical thinking. The author uses short fantasy fictions inspired by Gödel’s note to shed a new light on the problem of the relationship between logic and madness, in fact the very problem of Reason. A book as disturbing as it is stimulating.