Gdel

In 1931 a deadly blow was, however; struck at the Hilbert Programme by the young Kurt Godel, who proved that such a complete logic did not exist: Either it was not self-consistent, or it would not be complete in the sense of providing all the tools needed by mathematicians.

Godel's proof for his Impossibility Theorem is not easily accessible to the layman, because the problem is translated into, and proved within, number theory, but there exist popular accounts of it, in particular Hofstaedter's brilliant book "Godel, Escher, Bach - An Eternal Golden Braid".

Godel's advent should imply the end of all reductionism, be it on Comte's level or within the individual sciences, and tune the scientists down to a more modest pitch of aspiration.

Rather than aspiring to reveal science as the Schumpeterian perfect lines of a Greek temple against a cloudless sky, scientists should be happy to light torches and disclose patches of knowledge about a largely unknown reality cloaked in darkness. And they should agree that research is actually directed by such seemingly irrelevant factors as subjective taste about what is elegant, neat, and simple.

Such a shift in attitudes no doubt subtracts from the awe of the general public towards Science in its capacity of the new promise of salvation that replaced Religion, but it would reintroduce some of its beauty.

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