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Frege on Conceptual and Propositional Analysis

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Original languageEnglish
JournalGrazer Philosophische Studien
Issue number81

King's Authors


In his Foundations of Arithmetic, Frege aims to extend our a priori arithmetical knowledge by answering the question what a natural number is. He rejects conceptual analysis as a method to acquire a priori knowledge (see section 1). Later he unsuccessfully tried to solve the problems that beset conceptual analysis (see section 2). If these problems remain unsolved, which rational method can he use to extend our a priori knowledge about numbers? I will argue that his fundamental arithmetical insight that numbers belong to concepts is based on the recognition that different sentences express the same thought. In Frege's philosophy of arithmetic, propositional analysis does the main work. How it can do this work will be discussed in sections 3, 4 and 5. Sections 6 and 7 explore this approach further.

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