Gottlob Frege’s conception of works of art has received scant notice in the literature. This is a pity since, as this paper undertakes to reveal, his innovative philosophy of language motivated a theoretically and historically consequential, yet unaccountably marginalized Wittgenstinian line of inquiry in the domain of aesthetics. The element of Frege’s approach that most clearly inspired this development is the idea that only complete sentences articulate thoughts and that what sentences in works of drama and literary art express are (...) ‘mock thoughts’ (Schiengedanken). The early Wittgenstein closely followed Frege’s lead on this theme. One sees this, for example, in the Tractatus, where Wittgenstein announces that only sentential propositions model (‘picture’) states of affairs whereas works of art are objects we perceive sub specie aeternitatis (1961, 83). By the 1930s, however, Wittgenstein began to revise his view beyond his initial Frege-inspired standpoint. He came to insist that works of art can convey thoughts as well, but that thoughts do not model (picture) the world of facts and hence do not convey information about measurable objects and events. Rather, his contention was that aesthetically configured thoughts that artworks communicate impart information about our perspective on reality and reconfigure our view of life. To be more explicit, successful (gelungene) or ‘good’ works of art (ibid.), in Wittgenstein’s view, can supply aesthetically instructive ‘gestures’ that open to living experience promising new ways of being. It is in this respect, he held, that artists ‘have something to teach’ (1980, 36). (shrink)
Evans famosamente declarou que Frege não aceitou a possibilidade de sentido sem referente, o que significa que ele não foi tão tolerante com nomes vazios quanto comumente se pensa. Um problema central para a tese de Evans é que Frege diz explicitamente que aceita esta possibilidade, e parece que ele de fato foi tolerante com nomes vazios. Neste artigo, defendo que a solução de Evans para este problema implica que Frege estava comprometido com uma explicação implausível das frases contendo nomes (...) vazios. (shrink)
In this paper, I identify an assumption at play in anti-semantic interpretative approaches to Frege: the notion that translatability to Frege’s concept script functions as a criterion for deciding whether a thought is expressed in a sentence or utterance. I question the viability of this assumption by pointing to Frege’s accounts of the aim and character of his logical language and scientific discourse more generally, and by looking at his remarks on poetic forms of language, literature and fiction (Dichtung). Since (...) it seems clear that the sentences used in poetic and literary forms of language that Frege discusses, have Sinn and are possible to understand, in his view, I argue that the translatability criterion for thoughts is flawed. A discussion of Frege’s appeal to an approach of willingness to understand in a reader, and the relation between Frege’s use of elucidatory discourse and his conception of Dichtung is central to my exposition in this paper. (shrink)
In many places in his works Frege co mes to speak of fiction. Sometimes he appeals to it to get the background against which to draw the semantic boundaries of his logical investigations. Sometimes he gives examples from fiction to clarify some specific relations between his semantic concepts. It is worth analyzing Frege’s remarks on fiction in order to see if they contain insights that let us elaborate a Fregean definition of fictional discourse. It is shown that they not just (...) negatively say what fictional discourse is not, but also do indicate what it is. Furthermore, it is important to distinguish between semantic and pragmatic features of Frege’s view of fiction. The pragmatic ones, it is argued, anticipate some basic insights of a speech-act theoretical approach to fictional discourse. In addition the paper explores what Frege would tell us about the ontological status of fictional objects if the truth conditions of statements about them are taken into consideration in a Fregean manner. (shrink)
Discussion of Frege’s theory of fiction has tended to focus on the problem of empty names, and has consequently missed the truly problematic aspect of the theory, Frege’s commitment to the view that even fictional sentences that contain no empty names fail to refer. That claim prima facie conflicts with his commitment to the cognitive transparency of sense, and the determination of reference by sense. Resolving this tension compels us to recognize that fiction for Frege is a special kind of (...) force, and that words express a sense capable of picking out a referent only in the presence of the appropriate assertoric force. In effect, Frege’s theory of fiction reveals his commitment to an act-centered rather than an expression-centered semantics. (shrink)
Empty proper names give rise to intriguing questions. Frege, Moore and Russell stand at the beginning of analytic philosophy's engagement with these questions. In this paper I will therefore introduce and assess their views on the topic of empty names and draw connections to recent work.
I explore Frege's thesis that fictional proper names are supposed to have only sense and no reference. How can one make this thesis compatible with Frege's view that sense determines reference? By holding that fictional proper names are introduced in a particular kind of speech act. Or so I argue.
Une propriété décisive du langage quant à la fiabilité de l'expression des pensées, est sa disposition à créer des noms propres auxquels ne correspond aucun objet. Cela n'a pas de conséquences sérieuses quand cela arrive dans la fiction que tout le monde comprend comme telle. Il n'en est pas de même quand cela arrive dans un exposé qui se prétend strictement scientifique. Un exemple particulièrement singulier est ici la formation de noms propres sur le modèle de «l'extension du concept ‘a’», (...) ainsi, «l'extension du concept d'étoile fixe». En vertu de l'article défini, cette expression semble désigner un objet. Linguistiquement parlant, cependant, il n'y a pas d'objet qui puisse être ainsi désigné. (shrink)