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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 113, Issue 7, July 2016

Roy T. Cook, Philip A. Ebert
Pages 309-345
DOI: 10.5840/jphil2016113721

Frege's Recipe

In this paper, we present a formal recipe that Frege followed in his magnum opus “Grundgesetze der Arithmetik” when formulating his definitions. This recipe is not explicitly mentioned as such by Frege, but we will offer strong reasons to believe that Frege applied it in developing the formal material of Grundgesetze. We then show that a version of Basic Law V plays a fundamental role in Frege’s recipe and, in what follows, we will explicate what exactly this role is and explain how it differs from the role played by extensions in his earlier book “Die Grundlagen der Arithmetik”. Lastly, we will demonstrate that this hitherto neglected yet foundational aspect of Frege’s use of Basic Law V helps to resolve a number of important interpretative challenges in recent Frege scholarship, while also shedding light on some important differences between Frege’s logicism and recent neo-logicist approaches to the foundations of mathematics.