Frege's notions of self-evidence

Mind 110 (440):937-976 (2001)
Controversy remains over exactly why Frege aimed to estabish logicism. In this essay, I argue that the most influential interpretations of Frege's motivations fall short because they misunderstand or neglect Frege's claims that axioms must be self-evident. I offer an interpretation of his appeals to self-evidence and attempt to show that they reveal a previously overlooked motivation for establishing logicism, one which has roots in the Euclidean rationalist tradition. More specifically, my view is that Frege had two notions of self-evidence. One notion is that of a truth being foundationally secure, yet not grounded on any other truth. The second notion is that of a truth that requires only clearly grasping its content for rational, a priori justified recognition of its truth. The overarching thesis I develop is that Frege required that axioms be self-evident in both senses, and he relied on judging propositions to be self-evident as part of his fallibilist method for identifying a foundation of arithmetic. Consequently, we must recognize both notions in order to understand how Frege construes ultimate foundational proofs, his methodology for discovering and identifying such proofs, and why he thought the propositions of arithmetic required proof.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/110.440.937
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,046
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Michael Nelson (2008). Frege and the Paradox of Analysis. Philosophical Studies 137 (2):159 - 181.
Sanford Shieh (2008). Frege on Definitions. Philosophy Compass 3 (5):992-1012.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

70 ( #64,205 of 1,934,535 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #145,779 of 1,934,535 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.