Logic & Philosophy of Science


Kevin C. Klement
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Frege's Changing Conception of Number"


At the very end of his life (1924-25), Frege came to the conclusion that our knowledge of mathematics has a geometrical source. In this paper, I propose a theory of how it is that Frege was lead to this conclusion, and argue that it is more in keeping with his earlier logicist views on the nature of numbers than usually supposed. I begin by giving an interpretation of what Frege meant early in his career in claiming that a statement about number contains an assertion about a concept, and how this core idea is realized differently in his works at different periods owing to changes to his views about language. I lastly consider another possibility, besides an appeal to geometry, a neo-Fregean might pursue in order to preserve a broadly Fregean view about the nature of numbers and our knowledge of them, and some problems that remain for this approach.

Saturday, February 11, 2006
SST 777
10:30 am

Refreshments will be served