The Bad Company Objection and the Extensionality of Frege’s Logic

Perspectiva Filosófica 47 (2):231-247 (2020)
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According to the Bad Company objection, the fact that Frege’s infamous Basic Law V instantiates the general definitional pattern of higher-order abstraction principles is a good reason to doubt the soundness of this sort of definitions. In this paper I argue against this objection by showing that the definitional pattern of abstraction principles – as extrapolated from §64 of Frege’s Grundlagen– includes an additional requirement (which I call the specificity condition) that is not satisfied by the Basic Law V while is satisfied by other higher-order abstractions such as Hume’s Principle. I also show that the failure of this additional requirement in the case of Basic Law V is engendered by an essential feature of Frege’s conception of logic and thus that Frege himself should not have regarded the Basic Law V as a definition by abstraction.

Author Profiles

Vincenzo Ciccarelli
University of Venice
Vincenzo Ciccarelli
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte


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