Begriffsschrift’s Logic

Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 61 (3):409-440 (2020)


In Begriffsschrift, Frege presented a formal system and used it to formulate logical definitions of arithmetical notions and to deduce some noteworthy theorems by means of logical axioms and inference rules. From a contemporary perspective, Begriffsschrift’s deductions are, in general, straightforward; it is assumed that all of them can be reproduced in a second-order formal system. Some deductions in this work present—according to this perspective—oddities that have led many scholars to consider it to be Frege’s inaccuracies which should be amended. In this paper, we continue with the analysis of Begriffsschrift’s logic undertaken in an earlier work and argue that its deductive system must not be reconstructed as a second-order calculus. This leads us to argue that Begriffsschrift’s deductions do not need any correction but, on the contrary, can be explained in coherence with a global reading of this work and, in particular, with its fundamental distinction between function and argument.

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Joan Bertran-San Millán
University of Lisbon

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