At first blush, Frege’s subject matter – the nature of propositions, their truth values, and logic as the science concerned with the study of these – couldn’t be further removed from political philosophy. But Frege was something of a Platonist, and as Plato knew well, metaphysics has political implications, not least when it is not directly concerned with politics at all. For there can be no sound political order that does not recognize something non-political existing beyond it, by reference to which it can be judged.
In “The Thought,” Frege reminds us that truth and the laws of logic are timeless and discovered rather than made – that, though they are grasped by time-bound human minds and conveyed through contingent human languages, they are independent of both. Lacking an essential connection to any particular human mind, they constitute neutral territory on which all minds can meet. The lesson is basic, but depressingly needed at a time when it seems there is almost nothing that is not becoming politicized, and where ideas are evaluated in terms of the motives, party affiliation, race, sex, or other irrelevant circumstances of the person presenting them, rather than by reference to disinterested criteria of truth and logical argumentation.
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