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(2018) New essays on Frege, Dordrecht, Springer.

Frege's unquestioned starting point

logic as science

Jan Harald Alnes

pp. 23-46

Frege's conception of science includes three features: (1) a science is applicable to other sciences, or even to itself, (2) a science consists of a more or less rigid system of judgements and (3) a science presupposes elucidations, illustrative examples and a "catch on" among scientists. Together, I label these three features "The scientific Picture". Both logic and mathematics are included among the sciences and are covered by the scientific picture. As I understand Frege, this picture guides his logical and philosophical reflections. Here it is invoked in a treatment of two well-known and controversial Fregean topics: His claim, often repeated, that the axioms of Begriffsschrift and Grundgesetze are obvious and stand in no need of justification, and his use of a Kantian terminology in classifying judgements as analytic or synthetic, a priori or a posteriori. The most significant consequence of my reading is that it underscores the epistemological nature of Frege's thinking and, at the same time, downplays a current, and in my mind unfortunate, trend of ascribing to Frege a rather "thick" metaphysics. Towards the end, I discuss different aspects of the notion of a judgment at play in Frege's discussions: judgement as movement from thought to truth-value and judgement as represented by the judgement-stroke. These aspects point back to the distinction, so nicely illustrated by Frege's own writings, between a scientist, engaged in scientific research, and a philosopher, explicating the scientific activity and its general presuppositions, respectively.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-71186-7_3

Full citation:

Alnes, J. (2018)., Frege's unquestioned starting point: logic as science, in G. Bengtsson, S. Säätelä & A. Pichler (eds.), New essays on Frege, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 23-46.

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