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Rationalism Incarnate: Frege's Philosophy of Logic and Language


Admission requirements

  • This course is open to MA students in Philosophy. Admission to one of the
    specialisations History and Philosophy of the Sciences, Philosophy of Natural Sciences, or Philosophy of Psychology is required.

  • Prerequisites: introductory courses in (Predicate) Logic and Philosophy of Language.

  • Knowledge of Frege’s article Über Sinn and Bedeutung is presupposed. Some mastery of German is a help in the study of Frege.


Frege’s work is becoming recognized as the foundation of analytical philosophy; central here is his theory of Sinn and Bedeutung within the Philosophy of Language and Neo-Fregeanism in the Philosophy of Mathematics. The course will pay special attention to the Philosophy of Logic and the epistemological dimension to Frege’s work, which in comparison with the other two areas is relatively unexplored. It draws upon original texts by Frege and suitably chosen secondary sources.

Course objectives

This course aims to give students a good grounding in the Philosophy of Logic and, especially, detailed knowledge of Frege’s Philosophy of Logic and Language.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of :

  • basic notions and theories in the philosophy of logic;

  • Frege’s Philosophy of Logic and of Language.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • give a presentation on a chosen topic;

  • plan and execute a philosophical essay, including the finding of suitable (advanced) literature.


See Timetables MA Philosophy 2015-2016

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures and seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load (10 EC x 28 hrs): 280 hours

  • Attending lectures and seminars: 14 × 3 = 42 hours

  • Preparation for, and elaboration of, weekly classes: 14 × 10 = 140 hours

  • Preparation of presentation: 40 hours

  • Preparation, incl. literature search, and writing of essay: 58 hours

Assessment method

  • Active participation in the course with reading assignments (sine qua non, but not given grade).

  • Presentation during the second half of the course (sine qua non, but not given grade).

  • Final essay (paper) on topic chosen in agreement with the course teacher. (MA students have to study a selection of recent articles on Frege’s work, chosen in consultation with the course teacher/examiner and write a more substantial essay with these as a point of departure.)


One resit will be offered, covering the entire course content and consisting of a paper. The grade will replace previously earned grades for (sub)tests. Class participation and completion of practical assignments (presentation) are mandatory requirements for taking the test and resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.


Blackboard will be used for posting of messages, texts, and reading assignments.

Reading list

  • The chosen Frege texts and relevant secondary literature will be made available through Blackboard.


Please register for this course via Study administration system uSis
See also Registration for lectures and tests

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable
in the column under the heading “”.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.dr. B.G. Sundholm