Frege, (Friedrich Ludwig) Gottlob


Frege, (Friedrich Ludwig) Gottlob

biographical name

(born Nov. 8, 1848, Wismar, Mecklenburg-Schwerin—died July 26, 1925, Bad Kleinen, Ger.) German mathematician and logician, inventor of modern mathematical logic and one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy. He taught at the University of Jena from 1871 to 1917. His Begriffsschrift (1879, “Conceptscript”), was the first presentation of a system of mathematical logic in the modern sense. Using an original notation of quantifiers and variables, he was able to give formal expression to sentences containing multiple quantification, such as “Everybody loves someone”; this is impossible in the syllogistic derived from Aristotle, which had been considered complete until the time of Immanuel Kant (see predicate calculus). In the Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik he attempted to establish the doctrine later known as logicism. He also made significant contributions to the philosophy of language, including a highly influential theory of the distinction between sense and reference. Though Frege's work was admired by Bertrand Russell and the early Ludwig Wittgenstein, it was unknown to or ignored by most other philosophers and mathematicians during Frege's lifetime; its significance was not generally appreciated until the mid-20th century.

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