Modern Intellectual History 17 (4):1099-1131 (2020)

Gottlob Frege is considered a founder of analytic philosophy and mathematical logic, but the traditions that claim Frege as a forebear never embraced his Begriffsschrift, or “conceptual notation”—the invention he considered his most important accomplishment. Frege believed that his notation rendered logic visually observable. Rejecting the linearity of written language, he claimed Begriffsschrift exhibited a structure endogenous to logic itself. But Frege struggled to convince others to use his notation, as his frustrated pedagogical efforts at the University of Jena illustrate. Teaching Begriffsschrift meant using words to explain it; rather than replacing spoken language, notation became its obverse in a bifurcated style of argument that separated deduction from commentary. Both registers of this discourse, however, remained within Frege’s monologue, imposing a consequential passivity on his students. In keeping with Frege’s visual understanding of notation, they learned by silently observing it, though never in isolation: notation and language were always mixed together.
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DOI 10.1017/s1479244318000410
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Frege’s Logic.Danielle Macbeth - 2005 - Harvard University Press.
The Empire of Observation, 1600-1800.Lorraine Daston - 2011 - In Lorraine Daston & Elizabeth Lunbeck (eds.), Histories of Scientific Observation. University of Chicago Press.

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