Author: Gottlob Frege

Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)

ISBN: 0199281742

Category: Mathematics

Page: 33

View: 2781

This is the first complete English translation of Gottlob Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik (originally published in two volumes, 1893 and 1903), with introduction and annotation. The importance of Frege's ideas within contemporary philosophy would be hard to exaggerate. He was, to allintents and purposes, the inventor of mathematical logic, and the influence exerted on modern philosophy of language and logic, and indeed on general epistemology, by the philosophical framework within which his technical contributions were conceived and developed has been so deep that he has astrong case to be regarded as the inventor of much of the agenda of modern analytical philosophy itself. Two of Frege's three principal books - the Begriffsschrift (1879) and Grundlagen der Arithmetik (1884) - have been available in English translation for many years, as have all the most important of his other, article-length writings. Grundgesetze was to have been the summit of Frege's life's work -a rigorous demonstration of how the fundamental laws of the classical pure mathematics of the natural and real numbers could be derived from principles which, in his view, were purely logical. A letter received from Bertrand Russell shortly before the publication of the second volume made Fregerealise that Axiom V of his system, governing identity for value-ranges, led to contradiction. But much of the main thrust of Frege's project can be salvaged. The continuing importance of the Grundgesetze lies not only in its bearing on issues in the foundations of mathematics but in its model of philosophical inquiry. Frege's ability to locate the essential questions, his integration of logical and philosophical analysis, and his rigorous approach tocriticism and argument in general are vividly in evidence in this, his most ambitious work.