David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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History of Philosophy Quarterly 3 (4):449 - 465 (1986)
Frege held various views about language and its relation to non-linguistic things. These views led him to the paradoxical-sounding conclusion that "the concept horse is NOT a concept." A key assumption that led him to say this is the assumption that phrases beginning with the definite article "the" denote objects, not concepts. In sections I-III this issue is explained. In sections IV-V Frege's theory is articulated, and it is shown that he was incorrect in thinking that this theory led to the conclusion that "the concept horse is not a concept." Section VI goes on to show that his strict theory about the functioning of ordinary language is inconsistent. Sections VII-VIII investigate Frege's reasons for thinking that "the concept horse" must denote an object; these reasons are not adequate on Frege's own grounds. Section IX sketches a systematic way to allow such phrases to denote concepts (not objects) within the framework of Frege's main views about language. Section X comments briefly on the consequences of this idea for his logistic program.
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Karen Green (2015). Frege on Existence and Non‐Existence. Theoria 81 (4):293-310.
Fraser MacBride (2011). Impure Reference: A Way Around the Concept Horse Paradox. Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):297-312.
Alex Oliver (2005). The Reference Principle. Analysis 65 (287):177–187.
Joongol Kim (2011). Frege's Context Principle: An Interpretation. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):193-213.
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