Frege and Frege Interpreters Fall 2011
From: 2011-09-23 To:2011-12-16
Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
Mind, Language & Action
Research Seminar, including lecture series
Intensive course – “Frege and Frege Interpreters”, by Charles Travis (King’s College London) – 10 sessions
1st session: Friday, 23th September, 13h30-15h30 (FLUP, Room 209)
Relevant readings for the 1st session: Peter Sullivan’s essay “Dummett’s Frege” (in Cambridge Companion to Frege)
Organization: Sofia Miguens, João Alberto Pinto and Susana Cadilha
The seminar will take place every friday at the same time and place (10 sessions).
For more informations please contact Dra. Susana Cadilha (email@example.com)
This seminar is dedicated to the study of the work of german philosopher G. Frege. Frege is considered the father of formal logic, analytic philosophy and philosophy of language and he is the central figure of Project The Bounds of Judgement. The seminar will be centered on a comparison of judgement (Urteil) with thought (Gedanke) and assertion (Aussage): Frege’s conception of judgement proper (and thus the idea of ‘limits of judgement’) lies at the heart of project BJ and its ambition to understand the nature of thinkers. This seminar aims at a close study of Frege’s work but also at comparing interpretations of Frege and of the significance of Frege for contemporary philosophy. We will thus look closely also at the work of Frege intepreters such as Michael Dummett, Tyler Burge, Cora Diamond, Tom Ricketts, Warren Goldfarb, Joan Weiner and Peter Sullivan.
Lecture series organized by Sofia Miguens and João Alberto Pinto, including a Course on Frege’s philosophy by Charles Travis (KCL).
This seminar is dedicated to the study of the work of german philosopher G. Frege. Frege is considered the father of formal logic, analytic philosophy and philosophy of language and he is the central figure of Project BJ. The seminar will be centered on a comparison of judgement (Urteil) with thought (Gedanke) and assertion (Aussage): Frege’s conception of judgement proper (and thus the idea of ‘limits of judgement’) lies at the heart of project BJ and its ambition to udnderstand the nature of thinkers. This seminar aims at a close study of Frege’s work but also at comparing interpretations of Frege and of the significance of Frege for contemporary philosophy. We will thus look closely also at the work of Frege intepreters such as Michael Dummett, Tyler Burge, Cora Diamond, Tom Ricketts, Warren Goldfarb, Joan Weiner and Peter Sullivan.
Charles Travis, himself an interpreter of Frege (see Perception – esssays after Frege, forthcoming) , whose interpretation was present at the origin of Project Bounds of Judgement, will give a series of lectures on Frege as part of the seminar.
SYLLABUS OF THE COURSE:
This will not be a comprehensive treatment of Frege’s philosophy, nor of his logic. The aim is to develop one side of Frege which I think is under-appreciated. As a title for the organising theme, I have chosen The Invisibility of Thoughts. The first two seminars (at least) will develop what I mean by that, and what its main significance is. I will then use this as a background to discuss some standard main themes in Frege, most notably these: the distinction between sense and reference; the distinction between concept and object; truth; objectivity. In addition I will try to discuss some recent commentaries on Frege. Most of these are found in the Cambridge Companion to Frege. Most notable are those by Peter Sullivan, Warren Goldfarb, Tom Ricketts and Cora Diamond. I will also discuss several essays by Cora Diamond in her The Realistic Spirit, notably “Frege on Nonsense”, “What Nonsense Might Be”, and “Frege Against Fuzz”.
It is difficult to approach Frege work by work. The points I want to emphasise are scattered, mostly throughout the Nachlass. To begin with, it will be relevant to read his ‘letter to Marty’ (1882), notes for Ludwig Darmstädter (1919), ‘17 Kernsätze zur Logik’, and also “Der Gedanke”. I will also mention “Ueber Begriff und Gegenstand”, though, of course, not (the first week) because of the concept-object distinction. For future weeks I will try to mention main works in advance, and will also try to extract and distribute at the seminar some most important quotes. If you can, read the German. If you want English, you could get Beaney, though he often offers only extracts, or look at other standard translations, e.g., Geach for “The Thought”. I don’t know the situation in other languages.
What follows is a list of topics in the order we will approach them. I doubt that these will be one per week. Some, maybe many, will take longer. I hope to get fairly far into things before looking at other Frege commentators, so this may be a separate section at the end.
I. Exploiting The Invisibility of Thoughts (background)
A. The point of invisibility. (Contrast Wittgenstein and Russell)
B. Taking whole thoughts first.
1. What this means. Arriving at concepts by decomposing thoughts. (A thought: what brings truth into question at all)
2. Logical structure of thoughts: multiple decompositionability. What is a decomposition? (Here we will read Sullivan, “Dummett’s Frege”.)
C. The generality of thoughts, finding generality, the distinction between the general and the particular (conceptual and nonconceptual)
D. The essential publicity of thoughts, and of their subject matter. Objectivity, independence of a judgement from what is judged. The distinction between the psychological and the logical.
II. The Distinction Between Sense and Reference.
A. This is something like the distinction between the conceptual and the nonconceptual, but not just like. How not?
B. What is sense?
C. What is a concept?
D. Does Frege sometimes conflate two different notions, or fail to distinguish two (or more) notions of sense? What happens in “Einleitung in der Logik” (1906) (and correspondence with Russell).
III. Concept and Object. (At this point we will want to read Ricketts and Diamond)
A. Why is there a problem?
B. Can there be this problem?
C. How else can we think of a concept-object distinction? And how fundamental is it anyway?
IV. Truth. Why Frege is not a minimalist.
V. Objectivity and the autonomy of logic. (Here we will read Goldfarb)
VI. Formalisation and definition
Charles Travis (KCL)