# Gottlob Frege: biography of this German philosopher.

**Summary of the life of this thinker interested in the philosophy of language and mathematics.**

Do you know who Gottlob Frege was? G. Frege (1848-1925) was a German philosopher, logician and mathematician, considered the father of analytic philosophy and mathematical logic.

Analytic philosophy is a branch of knowledge that deals with the logical analysis of scientific language as well as common language. Mathematical logic (or symbolic logic) studies logic and its application in mathematics.

In this article we will get to know the most important milestones in the life of this philosopher through **a biography of Gottlob Frege**and his most relevant contributions and works in his different fields of study.

## Gottlob Frege: who was he?

**Gottlob Frege, born Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) was a German philosopher, logician and mathematician.**. He was born in Wismar (Germany) on November 8, 1848, and died in Bad Kleinen (Germany) on July 26, 1925.

For many, Frege is considered the father of two very specific currents in the field of philosophy: mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. Regarding the latter, analytic philosophy, Frege established, together with the renowned philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell, the bases and foundations of this type of thought.

**Gottlob Frege's most relevant contributions were in the field of mathematics and the philosophy of language.**. Frege became professor of mathematics at the University of Jena (Germany).

For a long time (practically until the end of his life), Gottlob Frege passed unnoticed by these fields of knowledge and, in a certain way, "in the shadows". However, thanks to two outstanding figures, the philosopher, mathematician and logician Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), and the philosopher and mathematician Giuseppe Peano (1858-1932), Gottlob's work became widely known.

### Relevant thoughts and contributions

Gottlob Frege believed that mathematics and language could be reduced to logic; with this idea, he developed a program of a logical nature that had the mission of analyzing the foundations, both logical and philosophical, of mathematics and language.

As a result of this process, he developed modern logic, which was a kind of antithesis of the prevailing classical logic of the time, since the time of Aristotle. **His contributions, heavily influenced by Russell, Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, gave way to the so-called analytic philosophy.**.

Thus, we can say that Frege was the first to address the foundations of mathematics; what he did was to establish the relationship (according to him, quite close) between the definition of the essence of mathematical knowledge, and the rigorous description of the demonstrative processes.

What Frege wanted was to show that arithmetic was a branch of logic and that, as such, it did not need experience or intuition to demonstrate its principles.

On the other hand, Gottlob Frege was also one of the first to analyze language. **was one of the first to analyze language by means of a logical method.**. Thus, as we can see, Frege tried, during most of his career, to unite logic, mathematics, philosophy and language.

### Origin

Going into this biography of Gottlob Frege, we know that he was born in Wismar (Germany) on November 8, 1848. **was born in Wismar (Germany) on November 8, 1848.**. His father was Carl Alexander Frege (1809-1866), co-founder and headmaster of a women's college. His mother was Auguste Wilhelmine Sophie Frege (1815-1898), from a Polish noble family.

It is worth mentioning that when Carl died (in 1866), it was Auguste who took over the direction of this female school.

### Childhood

As for Gottlob Frege's childhood, we can say that some milestones at that time would mark, in a way, his academic and professional career, especially in terms of philosophy.

One of these events was the publication of a book by his father entitled *Hülfsbuch zum Unterrichte in der deutschen Sprache für Kinder von 9 bis 13 Jahren*. This book dealt with a subject that would greatly influence Frege's ideas and interests, and that was the logical structure of language.

### Academic and professional career

After completing his childhood, Gottlob Frege set about his studies. He first studied compulsory education at the "gymnasium" (secondary school) in Wismar. There he graduated in 1869 at the age of 21.

Later that year, in 1869, Frege began studying mathematics at the University of Jena. He spent two years at the university, studying mathematics and physics. **Although his major was mathematics, Frege also attended some classes in Kantian philosophy, where he became acquainted with the work of Kantian philosophy.**where he became acquainted with the work of Immanuel Kant.

Far from staying only with mathematics, Frege also studied philosophy and physics at the universities of Jena and Göttingen (Germany). In addition, at the latter (University of Göttingen) he received his Ph. **he received his doctorate in philosophy in 1873.**.

As for his professional career, Frege began working as a professor of mathematics at one of the universities where he had studied: the University of Jena. From there, he worked practically all his life as a professor of mathematics in different institutions.

### Influences

Some of Frege's most prominent teachers were: the philosopher Kuno Fischer (1824-1907) and the physicists Hermann Schaeffer (1824-1900), Christian Philipp Karl Snell (1806-1886) and Traugott Schaeffer (1824-1900).

**It is worth noting the influence that another professor had on Frege: the physicist Ernst Karl Abbe** (1840-1905), known for laying the foundations of modern optics, together with other colleagues. We can say that Abbe was Gottlob Frege's mentor throughout his academic career.

## Relevant works

We can highlight three essential works by Gottlob Frege, which intermingle his three fundamental pillars of knowledge: logic, philosophy and mathematics.

### 1. Begriffsschrift (1879)

Frege's first major work was *Begriffsschrift*which was translated as "Ideography, a formal language of pure thought in imitation of arithmetic. **lays the foundations of modern logic, and establishes, for the first time, a system of mathematical logic, by means of a symbolic language.**.

It is curious that this work, which today is one of his most important works (also for philosophy in general), was at first ignored, especially by his colleagues.

### 2. Grundlagen der Arithmetik (1884)

Translated as "Fundamentals of Arithmetic", here Frege specifies the philosophical foundations of arithmetic. **specifies the philosophical foundations of mathematics.**.

### 3. Über Sinn und Bedeutung (1892)

Translated as: "On Sense and Reference", this work is currently considered the most widely read work by Gottlob Frege. Concretely, it is a seminal article in which he expresses his fundamental **it is a seminal article in which he expresses his fundamental ideas on the philosophy of language.**.

Bibliographical references:

- Auteur, Weiner, Joan, (cop. 1999). Frege. Oxford University Press.
- Kenny, A. (1995). Frege: an introduction to the founder of modern analytic philosophy. London: Penguin Books.
- Mendelsohn, R. L. (2005).The Philosophy of Gottlob Frege, Cambridge University Press.
- Ruiza, M., Fernández, T. and Tamaro, E. (2004). Biography of Gottlob Frege. In Biographies and Lives. The online biographical encyclopedia. Barcelona (Spain).

(Updated at Apr 12 / 2024)