Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Elusive 'click' failed to get a foothold.
on 9 January 2014
I have to go against the flow of reviews and give this 3. I am not a mathematician, but a computer scientist (who has worked with applied mathematics). I found Nagel and Newman's exposition of Gödel's theorems good to a point, but, despite several re-reads, the "click" of the elusive intuition didn't materialise.
I continued my search to understand Gödel and found a more intuiitive exposition in "Incompleteness" by Rebecca Goldstein. The key difference in Goldstein's exposition was to make clear the "diagonal lemma". Goldstein states that Gödel "didn't actually use it, but rather derived the particular case"; it does however convey the entrance of self-referentiality more clearly. Nagel and Newman's text does not mention the "diagonal lemma". I would recommend Goldstein's text to lay persons seeking an intuitive grasp of the incompleteness theorem.