I’ve Been Promoted!

I’ve Been Promoted!

Austin Ruse kindly sent me a note to tell me George Gilder referenced Uncertainty in the introduction to his new book, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy.

From pages 16-17:

Though Gödel’s proof frustrated many, von Neumann found it liberating. The limits of logic—the futility of Hilbert’s quest for a hermetically sealed universal theory—would emancipate human creators, the programmers of their machines. As the philosopher William Briggs observes, “Gödel proved that axiomatizing never stops, that induction-intuition must always be present, that not all things can be proved by reason alone.”

True, true.

Universals cannot be proved. Axioms can’t be proved. Not in any empirical sense. What mathematical proof exists, even, for any axiom? None. They are accepted because they are true, they are believed because they are true. But how do we know they are true?

By that induction-intuition and induction-intellection. These are higher forms of proof than mere deduction. We learn our best truths by revelation, as it were, and as it is.

Regular readers will know all about this already. So I won’t belabor it here. Newer readers can look to this page for many articles.

Now this is a promotion, “philosopher”. The highest title I had heretofore was Staff Sergeant, which is still my favorite. That blogger guy, Some kind of Catholic nut, climate denier, X-ophobe, X-ist, where X is a variable, are others you might have heard. The titles most often used about me can’t, of course, be printed here, this being a family blog.

Still, I’ll take philosopher. Thus it is a day of celebration. It was already an International Day of Celebration, and this, it must be clear, makes it a day of Universal Celebration. Let the angels sing and so forth.

Therefore, the drinks are on me. Today. That’s if you happen to see me walking down the street. I’ll be out, too. Wearing a fedora. As usual.


  1. George

    Congratulations, goof ball – you deserve what you get!

  2. Michael Dowd

    Briggs. Philosopher is your most accurate descriptor. Congratulations and keeping chucking and chunking out your many truths.

  3. Kevin

    Congratulations Briggs! You’ve certainly earned it. Philosopher fits, although I hope your feet remain firmly on the ground 😉

  4. MikeW

    Briggs, I’ve had your site in the “Philosophy” section of my Favorites list for many years now. This is nothing new.

  5. Gary

    Congratulations, Your Yakiness.

  6. grodrigues

    It pains me to disagree with you, but “Some kind of Catholic nut” is the best you have achieved. It is proof proven that you are doing something *really* *right*

  7. Congratulation on the promotion to philosopher!
    Of course, one can be both a philosopher and a curmudgeon. Keep on keeping on.

  8. “Axioms can’t be proved.”

    The ancient Greeks knew this. Because you don’t understand Gödel’s theorem, you think this is what it means. You made the identical mistake a year or so ago, were corrected, and failed to learn anything about the subject.

  9. But talking about things you don’t understand is a well-established tradition in philosophy. Congratulations on your promotion to member of the tribe.

  10. DG

    Hey congrats Briggs! Glad to hear it!

  11. Kip Hansen

    Briggs ==> I feel slighted — I have called you Commander Briggs for years…..

  12. Mactoul

    I must agree with Lee Phillips that there is nothing surprising in axioms that can’t be proved. In mathematics, an axioms is a statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based. It is starting point of a proof.
    And the Goedel theorem does not depend on the meaning of the word “axiom”.

  13. Kathleen Reeves

    Certainly a relief for anyone who thought you were a “religious nut!”

  14. Plantagenet

    Hey now you’ll make lots of money…oh wait…Philosopher…sorry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *