[FOM] Frege and philosophy of language

Alasdair Urquhart urquhart at cs.toronto.edu
Wed Oct 22 15:15:07 EDT 2003

Dean Buckner writes that:

	Frege is universally revered as the founder of natural 
	language philosophy, as we know.  

I think the claim that he is "universally revered" for
this reason should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Grattan-Guiness in his recent "The Search for Mathematical
Roots 1870-1940" (Princeton 2000) writes of Frege:

	The position of Frege in this story is rather strange,
	and often misrepresented; so, unusually, we have to
	begin after his end.  Much commentary is available on an
	analytic philosopher of language writing in English
	about meaning and its meaning(s), and putting forward
	some attendant philosophy of mathematics.  The historical
	record, however, reveals a different figure: Gottlob Frege
	(1848-1925), a mathematician who wrote in German, in 
	a markedly Platonic spirit, principally on the foundations
	of arithmetic and on a formal calculus in which it could
	be expressed (p. 177).

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