Kripke's Fregean Argument Against Materialism

Dissertation, Princeton University (1982)
An attempt is made to exhibit Kripke's arguments against the identity theory in their connections with Fregean presuppositions about language and intentional states. Section I examines Frege's argument for the distinction between sense and reference, and considers various ways in which the full generality of the argument may be expressed. In Section II, Frege's treatment of identity statements in the Begriffschrift is considered, and its defects described in terms of the findings of Section I. It is claimed in particular that Frege's own later criticism of this treatment fails to bring out its fundamental inadequacy. Section III contrasts Fregean views about the determination of reference by sense, and the role of senses as intentional constituents, with the innovations of Kripke and Putnam. It is argued that what is new in these views has little to do with the explanation of the possibility of informative identity statements, concerning which no fundamental alteration is made in Frege's view; but has much to do with the assumption that reference must be determined by the contents of psychological states, accepted by Frege but rejected by Kripke and Putnam. In Section IV, it is shown that Kripke's notion of reference-fixing is ambiguous, and that on one of its readings it corresponds to the Fregean notion of sense qua intentional constituent. Further, a classification of expressions into Fregean, moderately Kripkean and radically Kripkean expressions is introduced on the basis of this clarification of the notion of reference-fixing. Finally, in Section V, Kripke's argument against the identity theory is examined, criticized and reconstructed in such a way as to exhibit its Fregean affinities; and a line of reply is suggested for the identity theorist, though it is not developed.
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