“Paging dr. lauben! Dr. Gustav lauben!”: Some questions about individualism and competence [Book Review]

Philosophical Studies 115 (3):201 - 224 (2003)
Abstract
In several works, Frege argues that content is objective (i.e., thethoughts we entertain and communicate, and the senses of which theyare composed, are public, not private, property). There are, however,some remarks in the Fregean corpus that are in tension with this view.This paper is centered on an investigation of the most notorious andextreme such passage: the `Dr. Lauben example, from Frege (1918). Aprincipal aim is to attain more clarity on the evident tension withinFreges views on content, between this dominant objectivism and someelements that seem to run counter to it, via developing an understandingof the `Dr. Lauben example. Then I will argue that this interpretation goes some way toward undermining some prevalent contemporary viewsabout language. Based on the advice of Dr. Lauben, I will argue againsta certain understanding of the causal-historical theory of reference –more specifically, of the phenomenon of deferential uses of linguisticexpressions – upon which these views are premised, and I will drawout some morals that pertain to individualism and competence.
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