Arithmetic, Logicism, and Frege’s Definitions

International Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1):5-25 (2021)
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Abstract

This paper describes both an exegetical puzzle that lies at the heart of Frege’s writings—how to reconcile his logicism with his definitions and claims about his definitions—and two interpretations that try to resolve that puzzle, what I call the “explicative interpretation” and the “analysis interpretation.” This paper defends the explicative interpretation primarily by criticizing the most careful and sophisticated defenses of the analysis interpretation, those given my Michael Dummett and Patricia Blanchette. Specifically, I argue that Frege’s text either are inconsistent with the analysis interpretation or do not support it. I also defend the explicative interpretation from the recent charge that it cannot make sense of Frege’s logicism. While I do not provide the explicative interpretation’s full solution to the puzzle, I show that its main competitor is seriously problematic.

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Timothy Perrine
Rutgers - New Brunswick

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