La Lógica de Gottlob Frege: 1879-1903

Dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona (2016)
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In this dissertation I offer a global and detailed reconstruction of the logic developed by Gottlob Frege throughout his career. Even though Frege's logic suffered profound modifications from his initial formulation in Begriffsschrift to its revised version in Grundgesetze, the significant differences between these two works have been rarely taken at face value. I not only argue that these differences exist, but I also explain how they should be understood in the light of the evolution of Frege's thought. First, I suggest a new reconstruction of Begriffsschrift's logic, which amounts to a completely novel reading of its formal system—one that contradicts the core of modern historical studies. In particular, I defend that this logic is not—as it has been repeatedly said—a second-order logic and provide the following reasons. (1) The language is not properly a formal language. (2) In Begriffsschrift there is only one sort of quantification: quantification over arguments. (3) Begriffsschrift's logic does not have a semantics in the modern sense. Second, I offer an explanation of the reasons that drive the evolution of Frege's logic. The transition from Begriffsschrift to Grundgesetze has been seldom addressed and never fully explained. According to my historical analysis, the switch from Frege's position concerning logic in Begriffsschrift to his later conception—finally established in Grundgesetze—can be articulated through the adoption of the distinction between concept and object as the basic element of the formal system. This leads to a formalisation of the notion of concept, which in the end drives to Grundgesetze's notion of function. Finally, I put forward a global analysis of Grundgesetze's logic. In this work, Frege develops a formal system that resembles in many relevant ways a second-order one. I suggest a reconstruction of this formal system that allows us to compare it with Begriffsschrift's. In particular, I formulate precisely every rule of inference proposed by Frege and especially focus on the rules of substitution. Moreover, I reflect on several meta-logical results that can be drawn from this reconstruction.

Author's Profile

Joan Bertran-San Millán
University of Lisbon


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