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FA-232797-16

The Significance of Gottlob Frege's Language for Science

Joan Weiner, Indiana University, Bloomington

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The Epistemological Project of the Grundgesetze (Conference Paper/Presentation)

Title: The Epistemological Project of the Grundgesetze

Author: Joan Weiner

Abstract: Frege tells us that his Grundgesetze proofs are designed to show us the epistemological nature of the truths of arithmetic – that these truths are analytic. And he tells us that in order to establish this we need gapless proofs of the basic truths of arithmetic from logical laws. But are the basic Begriffsschrift laws – the laws from which he attempts to prove truth of arithmetic – laws of logic? Frege himself expressed doubt about Basic Law V, even in the preface to volume i of Grundgesetze. Why, then, did Frege think it was a logical law and what did he think he needed to do to convince his readers of this? Richard Heck thinks the answer is obvious: Frege thought that he had a semantic proof of Basic Law V and he expected this proof to convince his readers that it was a logical law. In his recent book, Reading Frege's Grundgesetze, Heck argues for this view and attempts to explain the semantic proof. I shall argue that Heck is mistaken. Frege does not give a semantic proof of Basic Law V. Indeed, Heck's assumption – that a semantic proof can show us that a basic law belongs to logic – is incompatible with Frege’s explicit statements. Moreover, there is no mystery about why it is that Frege took Basic Law V to be a logical law.

Date: 06/17/17

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