more from Gottlob Frege

Single Idea 9845

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

Full Idea

Given the reference (bedeutung) of an expression and a part of it, obviously the reference of the remaining part is not always determined. So we may not define a symbol or word by defining an expression in which it occurs, whose remaining parts are known

Gist of Idea

We can't define a word by defining an expression containing it, as the remaining parts are a problem


Gottlob Frege (Grundgesetze der Arithmetik 2 (Basic Laws) [1903], 66)

Book Reference

Frege,Gottlob: 'The Frege Reader', ed/tr. Beaney,Michael [Blackwell 1997], p.268

A Reaction

Dummett cites this as Frege's rejection of contextual definitions, which he had employed in the Grundlagen. I take it not so much that they are wrong, as that Frege decided to set the bar a bit higher.