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You are on page 1of 4

What is the sound of one hand clapping? Zen Koan

9.1

Abstract

The distinction between gure and ground in art is compared to the distinction between theorems

and nontheorems in formal systems. The question Does a gure neccessarily contain the same

information as its ground leads to the distinction between recursively enumerable sets and recursive

sets.GEB pp. ix

9.2

9.3

The tq-System

Suppose that x, y,and z are all hyphen-strings. And suppose that xtyqz is an old theorem. Then,

xty-qzx is a new theorem.

9.4

Capturing Compositeness

9.5

Why is this illegal?

9.6

Applications to art. How important is recognizable in both math, art, and music to gure and

gound?

34

9.7

9.8

So what is recursive? It is dierent than the tool for thinking we introduced a while ago, but still

connected. To understand what recursive means, imagine you have a collection of things (a set),

and you want to determine out of all things in the universe, which ones are members of that original

collection (set). If there is an algorithm or a set of intstructions which can determine membership

of a set in nite time, then the set is recursive.

The hot tamale is that (GEB pp. 72)

There exist formal systems whose negative space (set of non-theorems) is not the

positive space (set of theorems) of any formal system.

Which stated more formally says

There exist recursively enumerable sets which are not recursive

and nally that

There exist formal systems for which there is no typographical decision procedure.

9.9

RULE: If zDFx is a theorem and also x- DNDz is a theorem, then zDFx- is a theorem.

AXIOM: P -

9.10

Study Questions

More specics...

9.10.1

1. Dont do it, but would you have trouble listing which of the rst 30 positive integers are

prime numbers and which are composite numbers?

2. Dene the tq-system, by naming the (a) legal symbols, (b) axiom(s), and (c) rule of produc

tion, all in symbolic form.

3. Hofstadter claims that the tq-system is supposed to capture multiplication. Does it? Trans

late the axioms to arithmetic statements. Translate the three theorems shown on p.65 into

arithmetic statements.

4. Why is the rule of inference from of the tq-system arithmetically reasonable?

35

9.10.2

1. Hofstadter implicitly introduces a new symbol into the tq-system in order to state a new

RULE. What is the symbol, and what is the complete set of allowed symbols for what the

new C-system? Are you of the opinion that variables ought to be included in the list?

2. . What is the arithmetic meaning of the new rule, and how does it capture compositeness?

Why does the new rule have the two hyphens in it? Wouldnt x t y q z work just as well to

express compositeness? (Think of a special case)

9.10.3

1. Comment on the Smoke Signal drawing, p.702, as it relates to what weve done so far. Try

to see a message that says Ceci nest pas un message (meaning This is not a message).

You might also compare this gure with the one on p.494.

2. Consider the denitions of cursively drawable (by the way, what would be cursively un

drawable or uncursively drawable?) and recursive on p.67. Draw a Venn diagram that

shows both the relationship between the two and the meaning of the statement on p.68 There

exist cursively drawable gures that are not recursive

3. What puzzle does Fig. 17 solve? Do you see that it solves it?

4. Explain Figure 18 as you understand it to your roommate, playmate, soul mate, shipmate,

or even a random passerby. This is very important!

36

MIT OpenCourseWare

http://ocw.mit.edu

Summer 2007

For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms.

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