Logos & Episteme

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2010

Sorin Costreie
Pages 287-301

Frege‘s Context Principle: its Role and Interpretation

The paper focuses on Gottlob Frege‘s so called Context Principle (CP hereafter), which counts as one of the most controversial points of his philosophy. Due to its importance and centrality in Frege‘s thought, a detailed discussion of the principle requires a detailed analysis of almost all aspects of his philosophy. Obviously, such a task cannot be successfully accomplished here. Thus I limit myself to address only two questions concerning the CP: what role does the principle play (in Grundlagen) and how can we interpret it. Addressing the first problem is required in order to address the second. Most authors interpreted CP from the perspective of Frege‘s later distinction between sense and reference, which I will call the ‗semantic interpretation‘. Although I accept this perspective as valuable and important, I will initially inverse the action and I will try to approach CP, and generally Grundlagen, in a more natural way, contextually, namely setting them in the initial logicist plan of the Begriffschrift. Finally, I will try to provide an interpretation concerning the alleged conflict between CP and Frege‘s compositionality thesis such that they could coherently stay together.