At the truth conference in Munich this week, Michael Glanzberg and Martin Rechenauer reminded me that Frege’s Sense and Reference has some nice examples about Napoleon. They asked me, however, which battle Frege’s examples are about, and I hadn’t thought about that before. But after revisiting the text, the answer is pretty obvious. Here is the examples Frege uses:
(1) Napoleon, who recognized the danger to his right flank, himself led the guards against the enemy position.
The Guard doesn’t see that much action in the Napoleonic battles, so that already narrows it down quite a bit. But the second example clinches it:
(2) Napoleon was already more than 45 years old.
Napoleon was born August 15th, 1769. In other words, he’s 45 in 1814. That eliminates most of the famous Napoleonic battles, and in particular the once fought on Prussian ground. It’s evident, in other words, that Frege has the battle of Waterloo in mind. Not surprising really, since it was the Prussians who threatened Napoleon’s right flank, and who ultimately forced him to commit his Guard. The French frontal attack against the British position behind La Haye Sainte was repelled without backup, and soon the British could advance.
Where else did Frege use Napoleonic examples?