FOM: North Pole Argument (Frege #1)

Dean Buckner Dean.Buckner at
Mon Apr 29 15:08:02 EDT 2002

This is the first in a series of short objections to Frege's arguments about

#1 The North Pole Argument

Frege argues, in discussing Jevons' and Schroder's theory of number (GL
~~40-44), that a proposition like "a is different from b" cannot "give" the
number 2.  He objects that if so, "the Earth has two poles" must be true iff
"the North Pole is different from the South Pole" is true.
Whereas, he says, either can be true without the other.

Of course, but this is quite spurious.  "The North Pole" (like "Dartmouth")
is just a proper name in disguise.  The real equivalence is between "the
Earth has two poles" and "the Earth has a pole x and the Earth has a pole y
and x is a different thing from y".

Thus his argument does not disprove that difference between objects (not
concepts) can yield the concept of number.

Counter-objections warmly invited.

Dean Buckner
4 Spencer Walk
London, SW15 1PL

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