Did <em>Principia Mathematica</em> Precipitate a "Fregean Revolution"?

  • Irving H. Anellis Indiana University–Purdue University


I begin by asking whether there was a Fregean revolution in logic, and, if so, in what did it consist. I then ask whether, and if so, to what extent, Russell played a decisive role in carrying through the Fregean revolution, and, if so, how. A subsidiary question is whether it was primarily the influence of The Principles of Mathematics or Principia Mathematica, or perhaps both, that stimulated and helped consummate the Fregean revolution. Finally, I examine cases in which logicians sought to integrate traditional logic into the Fregean paradigm, focusing on the case of Henry Bradford Smith. My proposed conclusion is that there were different means adopted for rewriting the syllogism, in terms of the logic of relations, in terms of the propositional calculus, or as formulas of the monadic predicate calculus. This suggests that the changes implemented as a result of the adoption of the Russell–Fregean conception of logic could more accurately be called by Grattan-Guinness’s term convolution, rather than revolution.