Wittgenstein and Frege on Negation and Denial



Johnston C (2024) Wittgenstein and Frege on Negation and Denial. Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy, 12 (3).

Frege maintains that there are not two distinct acts, assertion and denial; rather, denying p is one and the same as asserting not-p. Wittgenstein appears not to recognise this identity in Frege, attributing to him the contrary view that a proposition may have one of two verbs, ‘is true’ or ‘is false’. This paper explains Wittgenstein’s attribution as a consequence of Frege’s treatment of content as theoretically prior to the act of judgment. Where content is prior to judgment, the denial of p – what is rejected in asserting p – is distinct from the assertion of not-p. Wittgenstein’s own embrace of Frege’s identity is then considered, an embrace explained in part by his repudiation of Frege’s theoretical order.

Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy: Volume 12, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2024
Publication date online30/04/2024
Date accepted by journal21/09/2023
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Dr Colin Johnston

Dr Colin Johnston

Senior Lecturer, Philosophy