Journal of the Graduate School of Letters;Volume 5


Frege, his Logic and his Philosophy Interview with Michael Beaney

Beaney, Michael;Bo, Chen;Nakatogawa, Koji

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The interview begins with an outline of Gottlob Frege's life, academic career and the reception of his ideas by later philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Frege's main contributions to logic and philosophy are summarized, and the key ideas of his three main books - Begriffsschrift, Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik and Grundgesetze der Arithmetik - are explained. Particular attention is paid to Frege's fundamental claim that "a statement of number contains an assertion about a concept" and to the 'Cantor-Hume Principle',which play a central role in his logicist project - the attempt to show that arithmetic can be reduced to logic. Also discussed are three of Frege's important essays, which elucidate his view of concepts as functions and his distinctions between concept and object and between 'Sinn' and 'Bedeutung'. Here particular attention is paid to problems concerning his notion of an extension of a concept (or more generally, his notion of a value-range of a function), the translation of 'Bedeutung', and the application of the distinction between Sinn and Bedeutung to different kinds of linguistic expressions. Recent developments of Frege's ideas by, for example, 'neo-logicists' are mentioned, and there is also discussion of Frege's conception of 'thoughts'. The interview ends with some remarks on certain influences on Frege, such as from neo-Kantianism, and some suggestions for further reading.