[FOM] Re: Foundations and Frege

William Tait wwtx at pop.earthlink.net
Wed Oct 15 09:30:27 EDT 2003

I did not note that Charles Stewart's message (10/14/03, 9:19 AM) was to FOM as well as to me and sent a reply only to him. Here it is:

Thank you. I heard a talk by Bill Ewald on this topic some years ago and wish dearly that he would publish some version of it. The view (Dummett's) of Frege's creation of logic ex nihilo never seemed very plausible; but it would be nice to have a detailed investigation.

>1. Frege was the first of several independent discoverers of the quantifiers; the
>  discovery of quantification was in many respects waiting to happen.

Aside from Pierce,who else did he mention? I remember a student here years ago, Geraldine Brady, who raise some question about Pierce's independence from Frege.

>  4. Frege's technical work in fact had close to no impact, both Peano and Pierce were
>  far more influential.

Was Peano's use of quantifiers independent of Frege? I had thought not (but don't really know).I believe that Hilbert referred to Frege for the ground-work in codifying logic(?)

>  5. The crucial importance of the quantifier was not commented upon until far later,
>  by Quine.

I would like to see the argument for this, to me, outrageous claim.

Bill Tait

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