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Wittgenstein and Frege on psychologism: the centennial of the publication of Der Gedanke

Frege’s influence on Wittgenstein’s early philosophy is established beyond doubt. The logician from Jena is mentioned in the Preface to the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as one of the two thinkers – beside Bertrand Russell – whose works were a source of inspiration for the author. One can point to a number of solutions Wittgenstein proposed in the Tractatus which arose from reflection on Frege’s ideas. This reflection was often critical; as aptly noted by Wolfgang Kienzler, the author of the Tractatus thought „with Frege against Frege”.
Wittgenstein knew Frege not only because he had read his works, but also because he met him at least twice while studying at Cambridge – by which time Frege was no longer working on his logicist program. After the formulation of Russell’s paradox, the latter had realized that the goals of that program were unachievable, and was focusing on the investigation of the philosophical foundations of logic and language. The result of those efforts was his 1918 paper Der Gedanke, in which he presented the famous idea of the „third realm”. This was a development of his long-standing anti-psychologism in the philosophy of logic, and is usually interpreted as providing the ontological foundation for that position.
It seems that the early Wittgenstein tried to avoid both psychologism and an ontology populated by eternal thoughts owned by nobody, but whether he achieved these goals in the Tractatus is disputable. It is also disputable to what extent his later philosophy moved away from Frege’s anti-psychologism.
This two-day conference organized on the occasion of the centennial of the publication of Der Gedanke aims to explore the relationship between Frege’s anti-psychologism and Wittgenstein’s philosophy.

The conference is partially funded by the City of Cracow as part of the program „Krakowskie Konferencje Naukowe” („Cracow’s Scientific Conferences”) –

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