Metatheory and Mathematical Practice in Frege

Philosophical Topics 25 (2):213-264 (1997)
A cluster of recent papers on Frege have urged variations on the theme that Frege’s conception of logic is in some crucial way incompatible with ‘metatheoretic’ investigation. From this observation, significant consequences for our interpretation of Frege’s understanding of his enterprise are taken to follow. This chapter aims to critically examine this view, and to isolate what I take to be the core of truth in it. However, I will also argue that once we have isolated the defensible kernel, the sense in which Frege was committed to rejecting ‘metatheory’ is too narrow and uninteresting to support the con-.
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