History and Philosophy of Logic 39 (1):53-79 (2018)

Dirk Schlimm
McGill University
Well over a century after its introduction, Frege's two-dimensional Begriffsschrift notation is still considered mainly a curiosity that stands out more for its clumsiness than anything else. This paper focuses mainly on the propositional fragment of the Begriffsschrift, because it embodies the characteristic features that distinguish it from other expressively equivalent notations. In the first part, I argue for the perspicuity and readability of the Begriffsschrift by discussing several idiosyncrasies of the notation, which allow an easy conversion of logically equivalent formulas, and presenting the notation's close connection to syntax trees. In the second part, Frege's considerations regarding the design principles underlying the Begriffsschrift are presented. Frege was quite explicit about these in his replies to early criticisms and unfavorable comparisons with Boole's notation for propositional logic. This discussion reveals that the Begriffsschrift is in fact a well thought-out and carefully crafted notation that intentionally exploits the possibilities afforded by the two-dimensional medium of writing like none other.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2017, 2018
DOI 10.1080/01445340.2017.1317429
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 61,089
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Über Sinn und Bedeutung.Gottlob Frege - 1892 - Zeitschrift für Philosophie Und Philosophische Kritik 100 (1):25-50.
The Frege Reader.Gottlob Frege & Michael Beaney (eds.) - 1997 - Blackwell.
Ueber Sinn Und Bedeutung (Summary).Gottlob Frege - 1892 - Philosophical Review 1 (5):574-575.

View all 56 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Role of Notations in Mathematics.Carlo Cellucci - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (4):1397-1412.
Begriffsschrift’s Logic.Calixto Badesa & Joan Bertran-San Millán - 2020 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 61 (3):409-440.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

La Primera Begriffsschrift Fregeana.Luis Segura Martínez - 1999 - Signos Filosóficos 1:13-32.
The Philosophy of Gottlob Frege.Richard L. Mendelsohn - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.
Frege and the Rigorization of Analysis.William Demopoulos - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 23 (3):225 - 245.
Sense and Reference.Gottlob Frege - 1948 - Philosophical Review 57 (3):209-230.
What Frege's Theory of Identity is Not.Robert May - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):41-48.
Lotze and Frege: The Dating of the 'Kernsätze'.Frans Hovens - 1997 - History and Philosophy of Logic 18 (1):17-31.
What is a Begriffsschrift?Jonathan Barnes - 2002 - Dialectica 56 (1):65–80.
What is a Begriffsschrift?Jonathan Barnes - 2002 - Dialectica 56 (1):65-80.
Functional Operations in Frege's Begriffsschrift.Peter M. Simons - 1988 - History and Philosophy of Logic 9 (1):35-42.
On Frege's Logical Diagrams.Iulian D. Toader - 2004 - In Diagrammatic Representation and Inference. Springer: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 2980,. pp. 22-25.
Wittgenstein's Ab-Notation: An Iconic Proof Procedure.Timm Lampert - 2017 - History and Philosophy of Logic 38 (3):239-262.


Added to PP index

Total views
49 ( #212,812 of 2,439,907 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #72,488 of 2,439,907 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes