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September 28th, 2004

Gödel Book

Peter Smith is writing a book on Gödel’s Theorems, and he’s been kind enough to make most of it available for download. Thanks to Wo for the link, and interesting comments on the book.

I wanted to quibble with one thing Prof Smith wrote.

You can, for the moment, freely download these draft 16 chapters. However

The deal is that — if you actually read them — you send any comments you have, however brief or general, to comments at godelbook dot net1.

I note — not entirely with surprise but with disappointment — that for the last versions, the ratio of downloaders to those who’ve sent comments seems to be well over 200 to 1. OK, no doubt a good many download in a speculativve way, and find that the book isn’t for them. Still, if that ratio doesn’t improve a bit, I guess I’ll go back to just circulating my friends and relations! :-)))

My ratio of readers to commentators is frequently in the 1000 to 1 range. This kind of thing isn’t unusual. If you really want comments, you should send manuscripts to friends with begs for comments and post things online. I think from the smileys Prof Smith knows this, but I thought it worth pointing out that his situation is not particularly unusual.

1 I’ve replaced a live email link here with a description of the email address because I’m a little afraid this page is scanned regularly by robots looking for spammail addresses, and I thought I’d spare Prof. Smith that pain.

Posted by Brian Weatherson in Uncategorized

6 Comments »

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6 Responses to “Gödel Book”

  1. wo says:

    You could try to convert the PDF documents to HTML using http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/access_simple_form.html. I’ve wrote a little PHP script that does that automatically for my Lewis Google filter, but the Adobe form is probably just as handy for you.

  2. wo says:

    Er, that was supposed to go to the previous post, as you’ve probably figured out. Sorry.

  3. Brian Weatherson says:

    Well, now the thread’s here I may as well use it!

    The O’Dea papers I was having difficulties with don’t work with Adobe’s online conversion. I’d be interested to know whether they work with your PHP script.

  4. wo says:

    No, my script also returns garbage. It looks like O’Dea uses something like CutePDF to convert his Word documents to PDF, which in turn uses the broken Ghostscript version 7.06. (I wonder how Google converts PDF documents to text: their text versions of the papers are at least not completely garbage.)

  5. Paul Franceschi says:

    The point (the ‘ratio readers:commentators’) raised by seems to me an important one and is worth discussing. In effect, ‘Spontaneous reviews’ are most wanted and useful but arguably they are too rarely provided. Perhaps we should assume collectively this responsability. Trying to be constructive, here are a few related suggestions. Perhaps it could be an important improvement if the preprints (notably Philsci, Cogprints…) would allow for these ‘spontaneous reviews’. Perhaps it could be something like Amazon book reviews. I suggest that these ‘spontaneous reviews’ could be either non-anonymous or anonymous, depending on the reviewer’s preference. It seems that if such a type of preprint review were somewhat generalized, it would be of interest to the whole community: the authors, the readers, but also the reviewers and editors of academic journals, since it could also allow to speed up the ensuing review process in these academic journals. For the authors, it would also allow for better transparency in the review process of philosophy papers. Under these conditions, when you submit further a paper to an academic journal, there is an accompanying history of the preprint reviews. I see many advantages in this way of proceeding.

  6. cjb says:

    A minor point, but not all downloaders of this book will have seen Prof Smith’s condition anyway. It doesn’t appear in the pdf itself (at least not obviously) and there’s at least one direct download link from offsite that bypasses his webpages altogether: at ephilosopher.com (that’s how I found it).

    Plus, I lost it somewhere on my hard drive and downloaded it a second time. woops…