Born in Czechoslovakia, Ernest Nagel emigrated to the United States and became a naturalized American citizen. In 1923 he graduated from the City College of New York, where he had studied under Morris Cohen, with whom he later collaborated to coauthor the highly successful textbook, An Introduction to Logic and Scientific Method (1934). Pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University, he received his Ph.D. in 1930. After a year of teaching at the City College of New York, he joined the faculty of Columbia University, where in 1955 he was named John Dewey Professor of Philosophy. In 1966 he joined the faculty of Rockefeller University. Nagel was one of the leaders in the movement of logical empiricism, conjoining Viennese positivism with indigenous American naturalism and pragmatism. In 1936 he published in the Journal of Philosophy the article "Impressions and Appraisals of Analytic Philosophy," one of the earliest sympathetic accounts of the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Moritz Schlick, and Rudolf Carnap intended for an American audience. Nagel was esteemed for his lucid exposition of the most recondite matters in logic, mathematics, and natural science, published in essays and book reviews for professional journals, scientific periodicals, and literary reviews. Two of his books, now out of print, consisted of collections of his articles, Sovereign Reason and Other Studies in the Philosophy of Science (1954) and Logic Without Metaphysics and Other Essays in the Philosophy of Science (1957). He also wrote a monograph, Principles of the Theory of Probability (1939) which appeared in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. In his major book-length work, The Structure of Science, Nagel directed his attention to the logic of scientific explanations.
However, few mathematicians of the time were equipped to understand the young scholar's complex proof. Ernest Nagel and James Newman provide a readable and accessible explanation to both scholars and non-specialists of the main ideas and broad implications of Gödel's discovery. It offers every educated person with a taste for logic and philosophy the chance to understand a previously difficult and inaccessible subject.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the original publication of Gödel's Proof, New York University Press is proud to publish this special anniversary edition of one of its bestselling and most frequently translated books. With a new introduction by Douglas R. Hofstadter, this book will appeal students, scholars, and professionals in the fields of mathematics, computer science, logic and philosophy, and science.