Frege’s Philosophy of Mathematics [Book Review]

Philosophical Review 106 (2):275 (1997)
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The days when Frege was more footnoted than read are now long gone; still, until very recently he has been read rather selectively. No doubt many had an inkling that there’s more to Frege than the sense/reference distinction; but few, one suspects, thought that his philosophy of mathematics was as fertile and intriguing as the present collection demonstrates. Perhaps, as Paul Benacerraf’s essay in this collection suggests, logical positivism should be held partly responsible for the neglect of this aspect of Frege’s thought, since it contributed to the following common impression of Frege’s philosophy of mathematics: Frege’s project was to reduce arithmetic to logic, in order to provide an empiricist account of mathematical knowledge; Russell’s paradox showed that this was not possible, and that the best that can be done is to reduce arithmetic to set theory; so, Frege’s logicism is demonstrably a philosophical dead end.



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Sanford Shieh
Wesleyan University

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