July 18, 2024
In this talk, we critically investigate Douglas Hofstadter’s (1979, 2007) analogical appeals to Kurt Gödel’s (1931) First Incompleteness Theorem, whose ‘diagonal’ proof supposedly contains the key ideas required for understanding both consciousness and mental causation. We conclude that there are simply too many weighty details left unfilled in Hofstadter’s proposal which really need to be fleshed out before we can even hope to say that our understanding of classical mind-body problems has been advanced through metamathematical parallels. We maintain that bringing Mathematical Logic into play cannot furnish mentalistic insights which would otherwise be unavailable—on the contrary, the Gödelian discourse may be seen as a distraction from the various insightful points that Hofstadter makes.