[FOM] Information required regarding attribution to Kreisel

Richard Heck rgheck at brown.edu
Fri Dec 30 13:28:49 EST 2011

On 12/30/2011 01:03 AM, William Tait wrote:
> There is an irony about Dummett's attribution to Kreisel: the content of the quote could well be regarded as a consequence of Frege's discussion in the introduction and section 60 of his _Foundations of Arithmetic_; I am referring to what is called his 'context principle'. But Dummett, who set the standard of Frege scholarship in the 1960's, didn't really understand this part of Frege at that time. It was Tom Rickett's, with his 1986 paper
>    title =   {From objectivity and objecthood: Frege’s
> metaphysics of judgement},
>    crossref = {haaparanta-hintikka},
>     pages =   {65--96},
> who established what seems to be the correct reading of Frege in this respect.
I suppose one could go on about this for some time, but the inversion to 
which Bill refers---taking objectivity as fundamental, and 
characterizing the notion of object in terms of it---is probably the 
cornerstone of Crispin Wright's book /Frege's Conception of Numbers as 
Objects/. But the idea is already present in /Frege: Philosophy of 
Language/, esp. ch. 14, and I would suppose it must have featured in 
Dummett's lectures before that for some time. (I haven't asked Crispin, 
but I rather suspect he would acknowledge the roots of the idea in 
Dummett.) In any event, Dummett's appreciation of the point, and its 
basis in Frege, is already evident in such papers as "Nominalism", from 
1956. But I doubt even that is the origin. Dummett may well have gotten 
the idea from Geach, who emphasizes it in many of his writings on Frege, 
e.g., "Frege's Grundlagen", from 1951.

Rickett's take on this no doubt has unique features.  But, for my money, 
where he diverges from the tradition just described, he diverges from 
the truth, as well.


Richard G Heck Jr
Romeo Elton Professor of Natural Theology
Brown University

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