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Frege’s Letters

  • Claire Ortiz Hill
Chapter
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 251)

Abstract

Gottlob Frege’s isolation is almost legendary. Michael Dummett portrays him as having been a man who was perhaps too original to have ever been capable of working with others, “of sailing on any sea on which other ships were in sight1....”, and someone who “never seems to have learned from anybody, not even by reaction....”1 Dummett’s Frege felt isolated, misunderstood and unlistened to in the philosophical and mathematical world of his time, led a “life of disillusionment and frustration”.2 In addition to this, we have Bertrand Russell’s well-known claims that Frege’s work had gone virtually unnoticed until Russell discovered it in 1900.3

Keywords

German Edition Logical Work Georg Cantor Famous Paradox Posthumous Writing 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Dummett, Michael: 1981a, Frege: Philosophy of Language, Duckworth, London, p. 661.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dummett: 198la, p. xxxi.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    Sluga, Hans: 1980, Gottlob Frege,Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, pp. 41–42; Dummett 1981a, p. xxxi.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frege, Gottlob: 1979, Philosophical and Mathematical Correspondence, Blackwell, Oxford, p. 52, cited as PMC within the text. I cite as BW the German edition Frege: 1976, Nachgelassene Schriften und Wissenschaftlicher Briefwechsel, vol. 2, Meiner, Hamburg; and as PW Frege: 1979, Posthumous Writings, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kreiser, Lothar: 1973, `Review of Nachgelassene Schriften’, Deutsche Zeitschrift fir Philosophie 21, 523.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sluga: 1980, pp. 69–76.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dummett 1981a, p. 661.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cantor, Georg: 1885, `Review of Frege’s Foundations’, Deutsche Literaturzeitung VI(20), 728–729 and Frege’s 1885 reply in the same journal, VI(28), 1030.Google Scholar
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    Russell, Bertrand: 1919, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, Allen and Unwin, London, p. 25.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Reading the notes in the English and German editions of the correspondence one finds information about Frege’s drafts of letters to Russell, Wittgenstein, Jourdain, Hilbert, Peano, Pasch, Huntington, Zsigmondy, Linke, Jones, and Speiser, among others.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    The relevant notes in the English and German editions show that letters from Frege to Marty, Husserl, Jourdain and Hilbert were found in various archives; letters to Liebmann and Peano had been published; Dingler’s wife had copies of her husband’s correspondence; Russell had photographic copies of Frege’s letters to him.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    For a more complete account of the fate of the letters see: Veraart, Albert: 1976, `Geschichte des wissenschaftlichen Nachlasses Gottlob Freges und seiner Edition. Mit einem Katalog des ursprünglichen Bestands der nachgelassenen Schriften Freges’, in M. Schirn (ed.), Studien zu Frege, vol. 1, Fromann-Holzboog, Stuttgart, Bad Canstatt, pp. 49–106; Scholz, Heinrich: 1936, `Der wissenschaftliche Nachlass von Gottlob Frege’, in Actes du congrès international de philosophie scientifique, vol. VIII: Histoire de la logique et de la philosophie scientifique, Hermann, Paris, pp. 24–30; Kreiser, Lothar: 1974, `Zur Geschichte des wissenschaftlichen Nachlasses Gottlob Freges’, Ruch Filozoficznej 33(1), 42–47, and Kreiser, 1973. I am obliged to give approximate figures since so many letters fall into more than one category. For example, many letters that were lost were recovered, or partially recovered through photocopies, drafts, typescripts, some of the letters Scholz inventoried were only known through other letters, letters Frege wrote to Wittgenstein were only very recently discovered, etc.Google Scholar
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    Dummett, Michael: 1981b, The Interpretation of Frege’s Philosophy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 7–27; Dummett, 1981a, pp. 629–664.Google Scholar
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    Dummett: 1981a, pp. 685–686; PMC, p. 130.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Scholz’s successors were able to locate letters Frege had written to Edmund Husserl, Anton Marty, David Hilbert, and Heinrich Liebmann.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dummett: 1981b, pp. 21–23.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dummett: 1981a, p. 658.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
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  21. 21.
    Dummett: 1981a, 657–658; Dummett: 1981b, pp. 9–10, 21–27.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Dummett: 1981a, pp. 664, 686; Dummett: 1981b, pp. 22–23.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Compare the list in Frege, Gottlob: 1989, `Briefe an Ludwig Wittgenstein’, Grazer philosophische Studien, 33/34, 8 with the list on BW, pp. 265–268.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Frege, Gottlob: 1980, `Appendix to Basic Laws of Arithmetic II’, in Peter Geach and Max Black (eds.), Translations from the Philosophical Writings, Oxford, Blackwell, pp. 214–224.Google Scholar
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    Frege, Gottlob: 1986, Foundations of Arithmetic,Blackwell, Oxford; Burge, Tyler: 1984, `Frege on Extensions of Concepts from 1884 to 1903’, The Philosophical Review XCIII(1) (January), 3–34.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Frege: 1986, §105.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Frege, Gottlob: 1964, Basic Laws of Arithmetic, University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 3–4.Google Scholar
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    Frege: 1980, p. 214; PW, pp. 181–82.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
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  35. 35.
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  36. 36.
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    Dummett: 1981b, pp. 7–8.Google Scholar
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    Veraart: 1976, pp. 98–101.Google Scholar
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    Veraart: 1976, pp. 97, 98; Scholz: 1936, pp. 28–29.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Veraart: 1976, 91.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Veraart: 1976, pp. 91, 94; Burge: 1984 discusses this thoroughly.Google Scholar
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    Burge: 1984, pp. 13–14; Sluga: 1980, p. 169.Google Scholar
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    Scholz: 1936, p. 29; Veraart: 1976, p. 99.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Kreiser: 1973: p. 522.Google Scholar
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    Frege: 1989, pp. 19–26.Google Scholar
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    Veraart: 1976, p. 92.Google Scholar
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    Dummett: 1981a, p. 661.Google Scholar
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    Russell, Bertrand: 1964, Principia Mathematica, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 59.Google Scholar
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    Church, Alonzo: 1944, `Review of M. Farber, The Foundations of Phenomenology’, Journal of Symbolic Logic 9, 63–65.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Ortiz Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.ParisFrance

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