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

Submission deadline: September 30, 2018

Conference date(s):
November 23, 2018 - November 24, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Pedagogical University of Krakow
Kraków, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland, Poland

Topic areas


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 – besides 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 theTractatusthought “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 Gedankeaims to explore the relationship between Frege’s anti-psychologism and Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Participants are invited to submit papers in this area. Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • psychology in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicusand other texts of the early Wittgenstein;

  • convergences/divergences between the visions of language and thought(s) presented by Frege in DerGedankeand by Wittgenstein in the Tractatus;

  • the relationship between anti-psychologism and the context principle in works by Frege and Wittgenstein;

  • anti-psychologism in the Tractatus and the “New Wittgenstein” movement;

  • Wittgenstein’s changes of attitude towards psychology from the Tractatus to On Certainty;

  • to what extent, and in what sense, Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is anti-psychologistic.

The conference is organized by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Pedagogical University of Cracow. It will take place on November 23th-24th 2018(Friday-Saturday) at the University’s main building (ul. Podchorążych 2). The keynote speakers will be:

Prof. Hans-Johann Glock (Universität Zurich);

Prof. James Conant (University of Chicago, Universität Leipzig).

Participation is free of charge. Papers should be suitable for a 30-minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. Abstracts (max. 500 words) should be submitted to [email protected] by September 30th, 2018, and prepared for blind review.

Organizing committee:

  • Jakub Gomułka (Pedagogical University, Cracow)
  • Silver Bronzo (University Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
  • Jan Wawrzyniak (Pedagogical University, Cracow)

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