On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems
In 1931, a young Austrian mathematician published an epoch-making paper containing one of the most revolutionary ideas in logic since Aristotle. Kurt Giidel maintained, and offered detailed proof, that in any arithmetic system, even in elementary parts of arithmetic, there are propositions which cannot be proved or disproved within the system. It is thus uncertain that the basic axioms of arithmetic will not give rise to contradictions. The repercussions of this discovery are still being felt and debated in 20th-century mathematics.
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