Self-reference in arithmetic

23 October 2014
Volker Halbach

A G\"odel sentence is often described as a sentence saying about itself that it is not provable, and a Henkin sentence as a sentence stating its own provability. We discuss what it could mean for a sentence to ascribe to itself a property such as provability or unprovability. The starting point will be the answer Kreisel gave to Henkin's problem. We describe how the properties of the supposedly self-referential sentences depend on the chosen coding, the formulae expressing the properties and the way a fixed point for the formula is obtained. Some further examples of self-referential sentences are considered, such as sentences that \anf{say of themselves} that they are $\Sigma^0_n$-true (or $\Pi^0_n$-true), and their formal properties are investigated.