Frege on the Context Principle and Psychologism

I explore the decisive connection Frege often draws between the context principle and antipsychologism, arguing that his assertion of this connection occupies a central place within the articulation of his linguistic method. In particular, Frege’s appeal to the context principle in the course of describing the epistemology of arithmetic, I argue, connects his doctrine of the nature of judgment with his defense of the objecthood of numbers, showing how an appeal to the special role of judgment in securing truth can function as a linguistically based account of objectivity that excludes subjectivist psychologism. Expanding and clarifying this appeal, moreover, allows us to understand better the special pragmatic position of the recognition of patterns of use and practice in the process of analyzing meanings. In particular, it emerges that these patterns cannot bear the explanatory weight they have sometimes been taken to bear within an envisaged reductive “theory of meaning.” Rather, their recognition must figure within a practice of analysis that is continuous with, rather than an explanatory reduction of, our ordinary discursive practices, and whose elucidatory resources are not accessible except from within the perspective of those practices
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