Theory and Elucidation

Joan Weiner

in Future Pasts

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139167
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833214 | DOI:
 Theory and Elucidation

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Weiner argues in her essay that Frege explicitly acknowledged the necessity for what he called “elucidations” of his primitive notions. Such elucidations consist of hints, metaphors, and allusions, all of which resist being translated into the language of his logic and so cannot be characterized as objective by Frege’s lights. Weiner argues that Frege held that there is something about the understanding and communication of logic that cannot be argued for or perhaps even stated. On Weiner’s view, far from relying on an unfounded rationalist confidence in the correctness of his logic, Frege, like the early Wittgenstein, is consistently self conscious and self-critical about the standpoint from which essential requirements for rationality are to be articulated. In addition, Weiner provides a non-psychologistic account of elucidation as an activity, by reference to a reading of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, which Weiner takes as a model of how changes in attitude, not reducible to changes in beliefs expressible in begriffsschrift, can be objectively effected.

Keywords: Frege; elucidation; begriffsschrift; psychologism; communication; rationality; fiction; objectivity

Chapter.  13401 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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