more from Gottlob Frege

Single Idea 9844

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 7. Contextual Definition]

Full Idea

In his middle period, Frege became hostile to contextual definitions, and any definition other than an explicit one, ..but at the time of the 'Grundlagen' he conceived of his context principle as licensing contextual definitions.


His middle period is 1891-1906

Gist of Idea

Originally Frege liked contextual definitions, but later preferred them fully explicit


report of Gottlob Frege (Grundlagen der Arithmetik (Foundations) [1884]) by Michael Dummett - Frege philosophy of mathematics Ch.11

Book Reference

Dummett,Michael: 'Frege: philosophy of mathematics' [Duckworth 1991], p.125

A Reaction

His context principle says words only have a meaning in a context. Intuitively, I would say that there is no correct answer to how something should be defined. Totally circularity is hopeless, but presuppositions just weaken a definition.