FOM: Philosophy and platonism

Mark Steiner marksa at
Wed Jan 26 08:18:30 EST 2000

Robert Black wrote:
> >Stephen G Simpson wrote:
> >>
> >> Michael Zeleny writes:
> >>  > As Gottlob Frege has taught us, logic is a branch of ethics.
> >>
> >> Could you supply a reference to where Frege says this?
> >>
> >> -- Steve
> >
> >How about Grundgesetze, Introduction:
> >
> >       ...and here what is fatal is the double meaning of hte word "law".  In
> >one sense a law asserts what is; in the other it prescribes what ought
> >to be.  Only in the latter sense can the laws of logic be called 'laws
> >of thought': so far as they stipulate the way in which one ought to
> >think.
> >
> >Mark Steiner
> If that makes logic a branch of ethics, it makes *every* science a branch
> of ethics, since Frege's very next sentence reads: 'Every law which asserts
> what is can be understood as prescribing that one should think in
> accordance with it, and is therefore in that sense a law of thought'.

	And he goes on after that to say that "[the laws of logic] have a
special title to the name "laws of thought" only if we mean to assert
that they are the most general laws, which prescribe universally the way
in which one ought to think if one is to think at all."

	We can say, then, that all the sciences can be thought of as branches
of applied ethics, the ethics of belief, while logic corresponds in the
sphere of thought to the pure science of ethics (as in Kant?).

	In the case of Frege himself, as Martin pointed out, his applied ethics
was horrible.

More information about the FOM mailing list