Seminar with Todor Polimenov

Todor Polimenov (Department of Logic, Ethics and Aesthetics; Faculty of Philosophy; Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski") visits the Wittgenstein Archives in the period 1.2.-31.5.2011. In this context, a seminar is organized:

Thursday, 17 March 2011, 14.15-16.00, Wittgenstein Archives, Philosophy Department, Sydnesplassen 12, room 130:

The Horizontal: Philosophical Issues of Frege’s Logical Notation

At the end of 2009 a new edition of Frege’s magnum opus – Basic Laws of Arithmetic – prepared by T. Müller (Utrecht), B. Schröder (Essen) and R. Stuhlmann-Laeiz (Bonn) appeared. What is a novelty here is the editors’ decision to issue the text by transcribing its concept-script part in modern logical notation, the motivation being that the concept-script formulae are, as the editors put it, an “extremely difficult notation to understand”, so, “in order to make the work more easily accessible to the reader, a transcription of Frege’s notation into some of the standard ones we use today seems to be necessary”. It is known that Frege’s logical notation failed to establish itself historically, and it is also true that at first sight it strikes as a rather unusual one. Nevertheless, two questions seem to make sense here: do these facts imply that Frege’s text would become more accessible if its concept-script part is transcribed? And if not, doesn’t that hide from view certain characteristics of Frege’s logic that can be of interest from a philosophical point of view? These are the questions to be addressed in the paper. To get an answer to them three themes are to be considered briefly: (1) How did Frege generally view the aim of the concept script; (2) How did he realize the idea of it for the first time in the work Concept-Script of 1879; and (3) How is this idea presented in Basic Laws of Arithmetic of 1893. With discussing these issues the specific role of the so-called Horizontal is going to be shown in relation to Frege’s view on predication.