Grinworthy Quotes (9)

Posted on October 8, 2015 by

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these — I’ve been reading some fairly dry material recently. The following quote is at the very beginning of Paul Benacerraf’s unpublished PhD dissertation (Princeton, 1960) which I’m reading as part of my dissertation research. The quote is attributed to an unnamed undergraduate student.

There was once a man named Frege who wrote a book called Principia in which he proved that the axioms
of logic were really axioms of mathematics.

Benacerraf follows this up with a quote from Russell and Whitehead, who actually wrote Principia. For those who don’t know, although Frege attempted to prove that mathematics is reducible to logic, his failure to do so is perhaps the most famous error in the history of analytic philosophy—most of us had heard of Russell’s paradox already as undergraduates.