Frege’s puzzling remarks on the beginning of On Sense and Reference challenge us to explain how true identity sentences of the form a = a can differ in cognitive value from sentences of the form a = b when they are made true by the same object’s self-identity. Some philosophers (e.g. Almog, Glezakos and Paganini) suggest that the puzzle cannot be set up in the context of natural languages since natural sentences, unlike those of regimented formal ones, do not wear (...) their logical properties on their sleeves. In this paper we argue that, on the contrary, there exists a notion of coordination between names which is apt to track the relevant logical properties of natural sentences and therefore to set up the puzzle in natural languages. Frege’s puzzle is here to stay. (shrink)
Departing from the dominant theories of Frege, Russell and Mill, Kit Fine has sketched a novel solution to Frege’s puzzle in his book Semantic Relationism. In this article, I briefly discuss the puzzle in its various forms and the attempted solutions of Frege and Russell. I then explicate the essential features of the new theory and critically appraise the mechanism suggested by Fine to solve the puzzle. I show that Semantic Relationism fails to address the concerns raised in the puzzle.
ABSTRACT In this paper, I argue that a number of influential Millian responses to Frege’s puzzle, which consist in denying that Frege’s data apply to natural languages, are not viable if logic is to play its role in legitimizing the logical appraisal of rational subjects. A notion of validity which does justice to the normativity of logic must make room for a distinction between valid inferences and enthymemes. I discuss the prospects of formal, relevant and manifest validity as candidates for (...) a notion which complies with this desideratum. Their success, or failure is argued to hang on the viability of a semantical account of de jure co-reference, which is in tension with standard Millian tenets. I conclude that these Millian theories face the following dilemma: either accept that there is no notion of logical validity which makes logic normative for reasoning, thus jeopardizing our well entrenched practices of rational appraisal; or accept that de jure co-reference is a real semantical relation. (shrink)
Berg seeks to defend the theory that the meaning of a proper name in a belief report is its reference against Frege’s puzzle by hypothesizing that when substituting coreferential names in belief reports results in reports that seem to have different truth values, the appearance is due to the fact that the reports have different metalinguistic implicatures. I review evidence that implicatures cannot be calculated in the way Grice or Berg imagine, and give reasons to believe that belief reports do (...) not have the implicatures Berg attributes to them. I also argue that even if belief reports did have such implicatures, they would not explain why the belief reports in Frege’s puzzle seem to have different truth values. I point out that Berg has no reason to believe that Lois Lane believes Clark Kent is a reporter and Lois Lane believes Superman is a reporter are both true rather than both false, and that Leibniz’s Law cannot be used to defend substitutivity in belief reports because belief reports are not relational in the requisite way. Finally, I observe that some of the linguistic data Berg uses to argue for substitutivity in belief reports concerns the transparent interpretation of belief reports, whereas Frege’s puzzle concerns the opaque interpretation. (shrink)
Frege's puzzle is a fundamental challenge for accounts of mental and linguistic representation. This piece surveys a family of recent approaches to the puzzle that posit representational relations. I identify the central commitments of relational approaches and present several arguments for them. I also distinguish two kinds of relationism—semantic relationism and formal relationism—corresponding to two conceptions of representational relations. I briefly discuss the consequences of relational approaches for foundational questions about propositional attitudes, intentional explanation, and compositionality.
In a series of recent works, Kit Fine, 605–631, 2003, 2007) has sketched a novel solution to Frege’s puzzle. Radically departing from previous solutions, Fine argues that Frege’s puzzle forces us to reject compositionality. In this paper we first provide an explicit formalization of the relational semantics for first-order logic suggested, but only briefly sketched, by Fine. We then show why the relational semantics alone is technically inadequate, forcing Fine to enrich the syntax with a coordination schema. Given this enrichment, (...) we argue, that that the semantics is compositional. We then examine the deep consequences of this result for Fine’s proposed solution to Frege’s puzzle. We argue that Fine has mis-diagnosed his own solution–his attempted solution does not deny compositionality. The correct characterization of Fine’s solution fits him more comfortably among familiar solutions to the puzzle. (shrink)
Kaplan’s solution to the indexical version of Frege’s Puzzle in terms of the character of linguistic expressions has been greatly influential and much discussed. Many philosophers regard it as being correct, or at least as being on the right track. However, little has been said about how character is supposed to apply to proper names, and how it could account for the name version of the Puzzle. In this paper I want to fill this gap. I sketch some solutions to (...) the name version of Frege’s Puzzle in terms of character, and argue that all of them are flawed in some way: they are either semantically implausible or fail to account for all relevant phenomena. (shrink)
According to an influential variety of the representational view of perceptual experience—the singular content view—the contents of perceptual experiences include singular propositions partly composed of the particular physical object a given experience is about or of. The singular content view faces well-known difficulties accommodating hallucinations; I maintain that there is also an analogue of Frege's puzzle that poses a significant problem for this view. In fact, I believe that this puzzle presents difficulties for the theory that are unique to perception (...) in that strategies that have been developed to respond to Frege's puzzle in the case of belief cannot be employed successfully in the case of perception. Ultimately, I maintain that this perceptual analogue of Frege's puzzle provides a compelling reason to reject the singular content view of perceptual experience. (shrink)
Frege's puzzle about identity sentences has long challenged many philosophers to find a solution to it but also led other philosophers to object that the evidential datum it is grounded on is false. The present work is an elaboration of this second kind of reaction: it explains why Frege's puzzle seems to resist the traditional objection, giving voice to different and more elaborated presentations of the evidential datum, faithful to the spirit but not to the letter of Frege's puzzle. The (...) final outcome is negative, no satisfactory formulation of the evidential datum is found and Frege's puzzle is challenged until a better formulation of it is found. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that a number of recent Russell interpreters, including Evans, Davidson, Campbell, and Proops, mistakenly attribute to Russell what I call ‘the received view of acquaintance’: the view that acquaintance safeguards us from misidentifying the objects of our acquaintance. I contend that Russell’s discussions of phenomenal continua cases show that he does not accept the received view of acquaintance. I also show that the possibility of misidentifying the objects of acquaintance should be unsurprising given underappreciated aspects (...) of Russell’s overall theory of knowledge and acquaintance. Finally, I consider the radical impact that Russell’s actual views on acquaintance have for our understanding of his well-known George IV case in ‘On Denoting’. In particular, I argue that Russell’s treatment of the George IV case is not a one-size-fits-all solution to Frege’s Puzzle and provides no support for the received view of acquaintance. (shrink)
Cet article a pour objet l’analyse de trois types de théorisations de la signification basées sur un modèle binaire du signe. Celles de Frege, Husserl et Saussure. Relevant d’un même paradigme, les deux premières sont confrontées en tant que s’y développent deux conceptions opposées de la signification – extensionnelle chez Frege, intensionnelle chez Husserl – contribuant à la mise en place, selon des perspectives opposées, de la dualisation de la syntaxe et de la sémantique. Relativement à cette conséquence, leur paradigme (...) est ensuite opposé à celui de la sémiologie structurale de Saussure dans laquelle l’interaction de la syntaxe et de la sémantique est internalisée au niveau du système qu’intègrent les signes comme éléments. De sorte que ce que l’on vise au terme de cet article, c’est à mettre au jour une explication possible de la raison de la divergence entre deux types de conceptions de la sémantique qui organiseront le développement de courants concurrents tout au long de l’histoire de la linguistique du 20e siècle, l’une formelle et mathématisée, l’autre structurale. (shrink)
In the paper, I discuss a possibility of defending the Direct Reference theory from its most dangerous threaten which is the notorious Frege's puzzle. I discuss two possible ways of doing that. First is based on King's theory of propositions as facts. I show that tools provided by King's theory are not enough to solve the puzzle. More promising is a method supported by new Soames's theory of propositions as cognitive event-types. I try to show that this framework allows us (...) to develop a satisfying solution of the puzzle, which focuses on the notion of the cognitive value of the sentence. (shrink)
Stavroula Glezakos (2009) argues that Frege himself could not pose Frege’s puzzle without relying on the distinction between sense and reference, a distinction that the puzzle was supposed to motivate, not presuppose. In this paper I argue that there are still some puzzling questions about the informativeness of identity sentences, and I discuss a problem generated by the Fregean contention that one and the same proper name can have different senses for different speakers an issue that, in my view, Frege (...) should have puzzled more about. (shrink)
The object of this paper is to suggest how the Frege–Dummettian notions of criterion of identity and criterion of application can be put to work within Putnam’s account of reference for natural kind terms in “Meaning of ‘Meaning’ ”. By doing so, some light can be shed on Putnam’s earlier views on “necessity relative to a body of knowledge” as well as his later views on sortal identity. If the Frege–Dummettian criteria are indeed at work within Putnam’s account, then we (...) must either give up rigidity or else give up the division of linguistic labor hypothesis. I will give an example from biological nomenclature that may sway us towards giving up the former. (shrink)
The paper discusses the emergence of Frege's puzzle and the introduction of the celebrated distinction between sense and reference in the context of Frege's logicist project. The main aim of the paper is to show that not logicism per se is mainly responsible for this introduction, but Frege's constant struggle against formalism. Thus, the paper enlarges the historical context, and provides a reconstruction of Frege's philosophical development from this broader perspective.
In a recent essay, “Frege's Theory of Sense of Reference: Some Exegetical Notes”, Saul Kripke shows that in addition to being an astute critic of Frege, he is also an insightful interpreter. Kripke's Frege emerges as a closet Russellian, who, like Russell, relies heavily on a doctrine of acquaintance. Is Kripke right? Where exactly does his approach resemble, and where depart from earlier interpretations, and what should one take away about whether or not Frege really was a Russellian and the (...) effect this has on his theory? (shrink)
The objects of credence are the entities to which credences are assigned for the purposes of a successful theory of credence. I use cases akin to Frege's puzzle to argue against referentialism about credence : the view that objects of credence are determined by the objects and properties at which one's credence is directed. I go on to develop a non-referential account of the objects of credence in terms of sets of epistemically possible scenarios.
Words and (Possible) Worlds is a study of the relation between language and reality; between words and world. It is a study of reference. Analysing reference often leads to addressing fundamental issues in semantics, metaphysics and epistemology, thus suggesting the close links of reference to these three realms. By utilising the powerful tool of possible-worlds analysis, Alik Pelman carefully explores these links, and elegantly integrates them into a clear and unified model of reference. In the course of his study, Pelman (...) addresses familiar philosophical puzzles (many of which are due to Kripke), for example, Could we discover that Queen Elizabeth was not the daughter of George VI, that is, would we be talking about Queen Elizabeth in this case? Could this table come into existence from a different hunk of wood than the one it was originally made of? Does the term "water" refer to the pink solid H2O on another possible world? (shrink)
Millians sometimes claim that we can explain the fact that sentences like "If Hesperus exists, then Hesperus is Phosphorus" seem a posteriori to speakers in terms of the fact that utterances of sentences of this sort would typically pragmatically convey propositions which really are a posteriori. I argue that this kind of pragmatic explanation of the seeming a posterioricity of sentences of this sort fails. The main reason is that for every sentence like the above which (by Millian lights) is (...) a priori, seems a posteriori to most speakers, and would typically be used to convey a posteriori propositions, there is another which (again, by Millian lights) is a priori, seems a posteriori to most speakers, but can only typically be used to convey a priori propositions. (shrink)
The anchoring focus of this paper is a cluster of complaints that have been raised against reference-based approaches to semantics, in particular against the view defended by Scott Soames (2002). I am going to lump the complaints that I have in mind under the heading of the Threat of Collapse (or the Threat, for short). At the heart of the Threat of Collapse is the accusation that various moves referentialists make in dealing with well-known problems end up undercutting the motivations (...) for a reference-based semantics in the first place. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege maintained that two name-containing identity sentences, represented schematically as a=a and a=b,can both be true in virtue of the same object’s self-identity but nonetheless, puzzlingly, differ in their epistemic profiles. Frege eventually resolved his puzzlement by locating the source of the purported epistemic difference between the identity sentences in a difference in the Sinne, or senses, expressed by the names that the sentences contain. -/- Thus, Frege portrayed himself as describing a puzzle that can be posed prior to (...) and independently of any particular theoretical position regarding names, and then resolving that puzzle with his theory of Sinn and Bedeutung. In this paper, I suggest that Frege’s presentation is problematic. If attempt is made to characterize the epistemic status of true identity sentences without appeal to Frege’s theoretical commitments, then what initially seemed puzzling largely dissolves. It turns out that, in order to generate puzzlement, Frege must invoke the theoretical account that he uses the puzzle to establish the purported necessity of. (shrink)
Marco Ruffino compares the notion of sense developed in my book with Frege’s notion of sense, and argues that whereas there are ontological similarities, my notion faces epistemological and semantic problems. In my response I discuss the various issues he raises, arguing that my notion of sense can confront them at least as well as Frege’s notion.Marco Ruffino compara a noção de sentido desenvolvida em meu livro com a noção de sentido de Frege, argumentando que mesmo havendo semelhanças ontológicas, minha (...) noção está sujeita a problemas epistemológicos e semânticos. Em minha réplica considero os problemas levantados por Marco, argumentando que minha noção de sentido pode confrontá-los pelo menos tão adequadamente quanto a noção de Frege. (shrink)
Frege's theory of indirect contexts and the shift of sense and reference in these contexts has puzzled many. What can the hierarchy of indirect senses, doubly indirect senses, and so on, be? Donald Davidson gave a well-known 'unlearnability' argument against Frege's theory. The present paper argues that the key to Frege's theory lies in the fact that whenever a reference is specified (even though many senses determine a single reference), it is specified in a particular way, so that giving a (...) reference implies giving a sense; and that one must be 'acquainted' with the sense. It is argued that an indirect sense must be 'immediately revelatory' of its reference. General principles for Frege's doctrine of sense and reference are sated, for both direct and indirect quotation, to be understood iteratively. I also discuss Frege's doctrine of tensed and first person statements in the light of my analysis. The views of various other authors are examined. The conclusion is to ascribe to Frege an implicit doctrine of acquaintance similar to that of Russell. (shrink)
There is no doubt that social interaction plays an important role in language-learning, as well as in concept acquisition. In surprising contrast, social interaction makes only passing appearance in our most promising naturalistic theories of content. This is particularly true in the case of mental content (e.g., Cummins, 1996; Dretske, 1981, 1988; Fodor, 1987, 1990a; Millikan, 1984); and insofar as linguistic content derives from mental content (Grice, 1957), social interaction seems missing from our best naturalistic theories of both.1 In this (...) paper, I explore the ways in which even the most individualistic of theories of mental content can, and should, accommodate social effects. I focus especially on the way in which inferential relations, including those that are socially taught, influence language-learning and concept acquisition. I argue that these factors affect the way subjects conceive of mental and linguistic content. Such effects have a dark side: the social and inferential processes in question give rise to misleading intuitions about content itself. They create the illusion that content and inferential relations are more deeply intertwined than they actually are. This illusion confounds an otherwise attractive solution to what is known as ‘Frege’s puzzle’ (Salmon, 1986). I.. (shrink)
Over the course of the nineteenth century mathematicians became vividly aware that great advances in intuitive “understanding” could be obtained if novel definitions were devised for old notions such as “conic section”, for one thereby often gained a deeper appreciation for why old theorems in the subject had to be true. From a naïve philosophical standpoint, such definitional alterations look as if they must properly displace the “propositional contents” of the very theorems they seek to illuminate. Haven’t our reformers merely (...) “changed the subject”, rather than truly provided. The conceptual enlightenment they claim? Many practitioners of the time claimed that “Science” enjoys a special prerogative to ignore “surface content” in its search for truth, a sentiment with which Frege often concurs, at least in his early writings. Yet it is hard to render these opinions consistent with his official views on sense andreference, as this essay details. It also surveys Russell’s views on such topics, although he was generally less aware than Frege of the revolutionary mathematical work pursued within the “search for fruitful definitions” program. (shrink)
There is a parallel between Plato's argument for the forms at 74b7-c5 in the Phaedo and Frege's argument for the claim that proper names express senses. There is also, I claim, an important asymmetry. The asymmetry explains why it is consistent to accept the conclusion of the Phaedo argument without accepting the conclusion of Frege's argument. The Phaedo argument turns on the possibility of a specific kind of mistaken judgement that may be termed "brute error". Frege's argument does not so (...) depend on the possibility of brute error. (shrink)
As Gideon Makin introduces his book, it may seem that his concerns are primarily historical and negative—namely, to show that when properly understood, Russell’s “On Denoting” and Frege’s “On Sense and Reference” make little, if any, contact with issues in contemporary philosophy of language. First, he claims that these papers are not typically understood in the context of the philosophical development of their authors. Russell’s central argument in “On Denoting”—the so-called “Gray’s Elegy argument”—is directed against the theory of denoting concepts (...) he advocated in The Principles of Mathematics, while Frege begins “On Sense and Reference” by arguing against his Begriffsschrift account of identity. And, for Makin, without a proper understanding of the old theories which are being rejected, and the reasons why they are being rejected, we will lack a full understanding of the new theories which are being advocated. More generally, he claims that when we understand the theoretical context in which Russell and Frege are operating, we will recognize that they are engaged in an “enterprise which is radically different in kind from what current practitioners of the philosophy of language profess to be doing”, an enterprise which arises out of their logicist project, which, in turn, is tied to their “peculiarly metaphysical conception of logic”. (shrink)
One particular topic in the literature on Frege’s conception of sense relates to two apparently contradictory theses held by Frege: the isomorphism of thought and language on one hand and the expressibility of a thought by different sentences on the other. I will divide the paper into five sections. In (1) I introduce the problem of the tension in Frege’s thought. In (2) I discuss the main attempts to resolve the conflict between Frege’s two contradictory claims, showing what is wrong (...) with some of them. In (3), I analyze where, in Frege’s writings and discussions on sense identity, one can find grounds for two different conceptions of sense. In (4) I show how the two contradictory theses held by Frege are connected with different concerns, compelling Frege to a constant oscillation in terminology. In (5) I summarize two further reasons that prevented Frege from making the distinction between two conceptions of sense clear: (i) the antipsychologism problem and (ii) the overlap of traditions in German literature contemporary to Frege about the concept of value. I conclude with a hint for a reconstruction of the Fregean notion of ‘thought’ which resolves the contradiction between his two theses. (shrink)
It is a commonly held view that Frege's doctrine of senses and references is not compatible with the idea that there are de re beliefs. The present paper is meant to challenge that view. Moreover, it seeks to show that, instead of forcing Frege's semantic framework to answer questions raised by twentieth-century philosophy of language, we could try to find other questions to which it might be an answer. It is argued that the proper treatment of Frege's views requires the (...) acknowledgement of the central role of individualistic epistemology in his thought. Once this is recognized, Frege's doctrine of senses and references can be considered a theory, or at least a sketch of a theory, of cognition, which has interesting connections with Kant's and Husserl's views. (shrink)
A detailed chronology is offered for the writing of Frege's central philosophical essays from the early 1890s. Particular attention is given to (the distinction between) Sinn and Bedeutung. Suggestions are made as to the origin of the examples concerning the Morning Star/Evening Star and August Bebel's views on the return of Alsace-Lorraine. Likely sources are offered for Frege's use of the terms Bestimmungsweise, Art des Gegebenseins and Sinn und Bedeutung.
Gottlob Frege's theories of meaning, and, in particular, his distinction between sense and denotation were developed as part and parcel of his views in logic and the philosophy of arithmetic. Nevertheless, the logical calculus developed in his Grundgesetze der Arithmetik does not fully reflect his semantic views. It provides no method for transcribing the so-called "oblique" contexts of ordinary language, and does not reflect his metaphysical commitment to the "third realm" of sense. The dissertation highlights ways in which Frege's views (...) cannot be fully evaluated until this gap in his logical language is filled. It then fills this gap by presenting a expansion of Frege's logical system in line with his mature views in the philosophy of language. Along the way, a number of exegetical issues with regard to Frege's understanding of both logic and semantics are discussed, and a new interpretation of the nature of senses emerges. Previous attempts at developing the logic of sense and denotation, such as those of Church and others, are discussed but are concluded to reflect inadequately the views of the historical Frege. ;However, once an accurate account of the logic of sense and denotation is in place, new and hitherto unnoticed problems with Frege's philosophical position are revealed. For example, it is shown that contradictions stemming from certain new semantical and Cantorian antinomies are demonstrable in the expanded system, and that some of them are independent of the inconsistent class theory already present in the extant system. Through a comparison with philosophers whose semantic views are in some ways similar, the source of the difficulties in the logic of sense and denotation is traced to a set of mutually untenable metaphysical commitments in Frege's philosophy of language. A number of possible revisions to Frege's semantic theories are considered, and it is concluded that while it may be possible to salvage a broadly Fregean theory of meaning and incorporate it within a logical calculus, the theory must abandon at least some of the core elements within Frege's robust ontology of abstract objects. (shrink)
The Snark is an intentional object. I examine the general philosophical characteristics of thoughts of objects from the perspective of Husserl’s, hyle, noesis, and noema and show how this meets constraints of opacity, normativity, and possible existence as generated by a sensitive theory of intentionality. Husserl introduces terms which indicate the normative features of intentional content and attempts to forge a direct relationship between the norms he generates and the actual world object which a thought intends. I then attempt to (...) relate Husserl’s account to Fregean insights about the sense and reference of a term. Neither Husserl nor Frege suggest plausible routes to a naturalistic account of intentionality and I turn to Wittgenstein to provide a naturalistic reading of the crucial terms involved in the analysis of intentional content. His account is normative in a way required by both Husserl and Frege and yet manages a kind of Aristotelian naturalism which avoids crude biologism. (shrink)
Though Fregeś second semantical theory is worked out excellently, he did not precisely and explicitly answer the question, which of the two semantical notions he used in his semantics - sense and reference -, could be taken as proper explication of an intuitive notion of meaning. Intuitively, meaning of a word can be connected with an understanding of the word: if we understand the word, we know its meaning. Our problem seems to be accute in connection with present tendency to (...) render words "meaning" and "význam" as proper translations of German word "Bedeutung", used by Frege to refer to named or signed objects . Fregeś basic concepts of both periods of developing of his thinking - Inhalt, Sinn and Bedeutung -, having been outlined, the author tries to explicate this intuitive notion of meaning as wordś content, or wordś sense and reference, respectively. This attempt is aimed to give a possible Fregeś answer to the above question. Then the discussion about a few counter-arguments follows and its main profit is in illumination of some less clear aspects of our interpretation of Fregeś conceptual apparatus. In the end the author argues that the word "meaning" as translation of "Bedeutung" does not cohere with Fregeś possible intentions, and defends the words like e. g. "denotation" as much better and clearer translations than the above one. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to present the close connection which can be established between the notion of mode of presentation (Frege) and ground (Peirce) in order to show that they are used to explain why signs can give us knowledge -nonconventional knowledge- about the world.
This paper provides a new approach to a family of outstanding logical and semantical puzzles, the most famous being Frege's puzzle. The three main reductionist theories of propositions (the possible-worlds theory, the propositional-function theory, the propositional-complex theory) are shown to be vulnerable to Benacerraf-style problems, difficulties involving modality, and other problems. The nonreductionist algebraic theory avoids these problems and allows us to identify the elusive nondescriptive, non-metalinguistic, necessary propositions responsible for the indicated family of puzzles. The algebraic approach is also (...) used to defend antiexistentialism against existentialist prejudices. The paper closes with a suggestion about how this theory of content might enable us to give purely semantic (as opposed to pragmatic) solutions to the puzzles based on a novel formulation of the principle of compositionality. (shrink)