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Frege and Language

This is a very sparse and initial page, containing only a few thoughts about how Frege and Dooyeweerd might meet. It needs the full Fregean content to be added, about compositionality, semantics, denotation, truth, thoughts, and the like. That must wait for another time; this is a start.
Frege Affirmation by Dooyeweerd Critique by Dooyeweerd
Frege was a mathematician, and wanted to explore the foundations of mathematics.
He rejected the Kantian tendency to ground mathematics in geometry.
Instead, he tried to ground it in logic.
We might expect a focus on the quantitative aspect.
Mathematics cannot be grounded in geometry, despite the close association between them, because the quantitative aspect is distinct from the spatial.
But it is also distinct from the analytic aspect, so Frege was likely to find problems - as indeed proved to be the case.
Sense is difference from reference
That 'The Morning Star is a planet' expresses a different sense from 'The Evening Star is a planet' is a linguistic fact, not a logical one. [p.30]. (Both are the planet Venus.) Lingual and analytic aspects cannot be reduced to each other.
Frege does not tell us what sense is. "'What is the sense of a name?' There is no such answer to be found in Frege. What is to be found is a theory of logic and language, in which the notion of sense has an important role to play." [p.26] 1. Notice how even such a carefully-logical thinker like Frege must, at some points, fall back on notions whose meaning derive from intuition or some other pre-theoretical belief. This is precisely what Dooyeweerd would predict, because logic is never absolute.
2. Frege absolutizes the analytic aspect. Because he does, things outwith its sphere have no meaning for him. Being honest, he attempts to find a way to reduce their meaning to that of the absolutized aspect - but ultimately fails to find a way to do so.

This page is part of a collection of pages that links to various thinkers, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.

Copyright (c) 2004 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.

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Created: 9 February 2008 Last updated: