The Missing Link?
Edited by Christopher Pollitt
Chapter 6: Numbers in context: applying Frege’s principles to public administration
The Missing Link?
The German mathematician and philosopher Gottlob Frege (1848–1925) stated in The Foundations of Arithmetic (1980) one of his fundamental methodological principles, which became known as Frege’s context principle: never to ask for the meaning of a word in isolation, but only in the context of a proposition. According to this principle – some consider it as Frege’s most important philosophical statement (Dummett in Puntel, 1993: 124) – only in the context of a sentence do words have meaning. This is one of Frege’s three interconnected principles (Frege, 1980: x; Frege, 1987: 23):1 1. Always to separate sharply the psychological from the logical, the subjective from the objective. 2. Never to ask for the meaning of a word in isolation, but only in the context of a proposition. 3. Never to lose sight of the distinction between concept and object. These three principles are almost like a Rough Guide to the intangible ‘World of Context’. These three principles are almost like a Rough Guide to the intangible ‘World of Context’.
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