22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2001
This is a nice selection of excerpts and full essays written by Frege. The book is a pleasure to read, however, not only becaues of the selections and the fine introductory section, but because Frege is such a clear writer and thinker himself. I particularly enjoyed Frege's Begriffshrift - you can see modern quantificational logic being born.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2000
The Frege Reader is an excellent collection of Frege's works. The texts are edited carefully and the editor has supplied extremely helpful footnotes throughout. The introduction and appendices are clear resources that the reader will consult often as she works through the text.
The excerpts from many of Frege's letters are a great addition as these shed light on the development of his project. This work will remain for years the standard first place to turn for Frege.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2001
What a great book this is! The Frege Reader is not for everybody, that's for sure. But when/if you get into the "right space" - then please read this book.
I can't remember when I first heard the name "Frege". But I do know how my reading and study began that eventually brought me to stumble across this mathematician, logician, and philosopher. You see I'm a software developer, more specifically a database guy. I have read much of Chris Date and Hugh Darwen's work. They say that programming languages and databases are considered to be "formal systems", that is to say, a formal system of logic. Date and Darwin go on to say that what we are really doing when we call the database to create an answer set is "instantiating the predicate". So, I started on a path to learn what a "predicate" is. It did not take long before the names: Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, and finally, Frege came up.
There are many fine authors who have written about Frege's logic and philosophy. But, until you read his words (and his words are really, really good!) you really don't get a sense for what this man was really trying to say. This book is not just talking about numbers. This book is about everything we can talk about. Using Frege's "perfect language" we learn to distinguish between "objects", and what we say about those "objects".
So, I learned from this book that when I "instantiate my predicate" I am (in Frege's words) finding the content of the concept, saturating the concept, finding its meaning, its "Bedeudung", returning thoughts to my user.
In his book, LOGIC, LOGIC, and LOGIC, George Boolos quotes one of his professors. The professor said that the way to seduce good students to philosophy is to teach them Russell's and Frege's concept of number. Programmers and DBAs can also be "seduced" by reading Frege. So, if you want to be "seduced" to philosophy, then read The Frege Reader.
Stephen A. Wilson
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Published in 1997 by Blackwell and edited by Michael Beaney `The Frege Reader' is a compilation of important aspects of Frege's corpus; articles, book exerts and correspondence. The editor is himself an accomplished philosopher with several publications on the origins of analytic philosophy and the work of Frege.
While the text has much strength, some features of the book that I particularly appreciated were:
* It is a handy compilation of Frege's most important works including `Thought', `Function' and `Concept and `On Sinn and Bedeutung'. While these writings have been previously published it is nice to have them under one cover. Potential purchasers are advised to refer to the table of contents prior to purchase (available on-line).
* The detailed introduction (45 pages) is excellent. Beaney is an outstanding guide - a knowledgeable and gifted communicator. In addition to situating Frege's work in its historic context the introduction also addresses some of the more interesting and contentious aspects of his work. The discussion of the various translations of `bedeutung' was especially well done.
* Helpful appendices explaining Frege's logical notation and providing recommendations for further reading
Overall this is the best one volume collection of Frege writings that I have encountered. It is likely to be on interest to readers of Frege and students of analytic philosophy.