Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-ct24h Total loading time: 0.409 Render date: 2022-05-20T22:55:09.580Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

2 - Understanding Frege’s project

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2010

Tom Ricketts
Affiliation:
University of Pittsburgh
Michael Potter
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Summary

Frege begins Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik, the work that introduces the project which was to occupy him for most of his professional career, with the question, 'What is the number one?' It is a question to which even mathematicians, he says, have no satisfactory answer. And given this scandalous situation, he adds, there is small hope that we shall be able to say what number is. Frege intends to rectify the situation by providing definitions of the number one and the concept of number. But what, exactly, is required of a definition? Surely it will not do to stipulate that the number one is Julius Caesar - that would change the subject. It seems reasonable to suppose that an acceptable definition must be a true statement containing a description that picks out the object to which the numeral '1' already refers. And, similarly, that an acceptable definition of the concept of number must contain a description that picks out precisely those objects that are numbers - those objects to which our numerals refer. Yet, while Frege writes a great deal about what criteria his definitions must satisfy, the above criteria are not among those he mentions. Nor does he attempt to convince us that his definitions of '1' and the other numerals are correct by arguing that these definitions pick out objects to which these numerals have always referred.

Yet, while Frege writes a great deal about what criteria his definitions must satisfy, the above criteria are not among those he mentions. Nor does he attempt to convince us that his definitions of ‘1’ and the other numerals are correct by arguing that these definitions pick out objects to which these numerals have always referred. There is, as we shall see shortly, a great deal of evidence that Frege’s definitions are not intended to pick out objects to which our numerals already refer. But if this is so, how can these definitions teach us anything about our science of arithmetic? And what criteria must these definitions satisfy? To answer these questions, we need to understand what it is that Frege thinks we need to learn about the science of arithmetic.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010
You have Access
6
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×