Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||It has become standard for commentators to note sadly how little impact Frege’s work had amongst his contemporaries, but then to temper this observation by claiming an enormous indirect influence for his ideas through the work of those few who did pay serious attention to them, perhaps most notably Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap. How effective or transparent those conduits were is still a matter of scholarly debate.1 For myself, I am increasingly persuaded that much of what we would now judge to be most centrally important in Frege was at best imperfectly transmitted. That we can now attempt judgement on what is thus central is owed, in the first place, to the re‐publication and translation of Frege’s work that effectively began with Austin’s version of Grundlagen in 1950. Austin had translated the work so as to be able to set if for an Oxford finals paper. Michael Dummett took the course, and was, he reports, “bowled over by the Grundlagen”, so much so that during the following year he “settled down to read everything that Frege had written” (2007: 9‐ 10). Soon, though not at first, Geach and Black’s Translations (1952) would help in this, but before long the work would take Dummett to Munster to examine Frege unpublished work: the first result of this study is the 1956 “Postscript” to his 1955 “Frege on Functions”, itself an important early step in dispelling bizarre misconceptions of Frege’s doctrines which seem then to have been prevalent.2 Dummett began to form plans for a comprehensive book on Frege. This required further sustained study of the Nachlass, including a visit in 1957 when, its editors acknowledge, Dummett provided an important stimulus and essential “spadework” (PW xii) towards its publication. Frege: Philosophy of Language, a rather different book from that first planned, eventually appeared in 1973. Dummett modestly remarks of it, “I believe that the book helped to revive interest in Frege” (2007: 24). Peter Geach,�..|
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