more from Gottlob Frege

Single Idea 10019

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 11. Ostensive Definition]

Full Idea

Only what is logically complex can be defined; what is simple can only be pointed to.

Gist of Idea

Only what is logically complex can be defined; what is simple must be pointed to

Source

Gottlob Frege (Grundgesetze der Arithmetik 2 (Basic Laws) [1903], 180), quoted by Harold Hodes - Logicism and Ontological Commits. of Arithmetic p.137

Book Reference

-: 'Journal of Philosophy' [-], p.137


A Reaction

Frege presumably has in mind his treasured abstract objects, such as cardinal numbers. It is hard to see how you could 'point to' anything in the phenomenal world that had atomic simplicity. Hodes calls this a 'desperate Kantian move'.