Frege and his Rivals

Adam Morton

  • Frege: Philosophy of Language by Michael Dummett
    Duckworth, 708 pp, £28.00, May 1981, ISBN 0 7156 1568 8
  • The Interpretation of Frege’s Philosophy by Michael Dummett
    Duckworth, 621 pp, £35.00, September 1981, ISBN 0 7156 1540 8
  • Frege: An Introduction to his Philosophy by Gregory Currie
    Harvester, 212 pp, £20.00, June 1982, ISBN 0 85527 826 9

Philosophy is a bitchy subject. That is not to say that philosophers are nastier to each other in print than people in other subjects are, but that in philosophy the distinction between academic discussion and personal attack is more subtle: it is harder in philosophy to tell when the attack is on a writer’s motives rather than his work. Michael Dummett, in these two books on Frege (and there is more to come), evaluates the views of a fair number of other writers, many of whose errors he considers to border on the perverse, and in so doing finds himself on the boundary between comment and invective. Sometimes he succeeds admirably in showing why he thinks someone thoroughly mistaken without becoming at all splenetic; sometimes he fails.

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