Frege on 'I', 'now', 'today' and some other linguistic devices

Synthese 121 (3):329 - 356 (1999)
In this paper, I argue against an influential view of Frege''s writings on indexical and other context-sensitive expressions, and in favour of an alternative. The centrepiece of the influential view, due to (among others) Evans and McDowell, is that according to Frege, context-sensitiveword-meaning plus context combine to express senses which are essentially first person, essentially present tense and so on, depending on the context-sensitive expression in question. Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus fits smoothly with his Intuitive Criterion of difference of sense. On my view, by contrast, Frege stuck by the view which he held in his unpublished 1897 Logic, namely that the senses expressed by the combination of context-sensitive word-meaning and context could just as well be expressed by means of non-context-sensitive expressions: being first person, present tense and so on are properties, in Frege''s view, only of language, not of thought. Given the irreducibility of indexicals – a phenomenon noticed by Castañeda, Perry and others – Frege''s treatment of indexicals thus turns out to be inconsistent with the Intuitive Criterion. I argue that Frege was not aware of the inconsistency because he was not aware of the irreducibility of indexicals. This oversight was possible because the source of Frege''s interest in indexicals, as inother context-sensitive expressions, differed from that of contemporary theorists. Whereas contemporary theorists are most often interested in indexicals (and in Frege''s treatment of them) because they are interested in the indexical versions of Frege''s Puzzle and their relation to psychological explanation, Frege himself was interested in them because they pose a prima facie threat to his general conception of thoughts. The only indexical expression Frege''s view of which the above account does not cover is I insofar as it is associated with special and primitive senses, but Frege did not introduce such senses with a view to explaining theirreducibility of I his real reason for introducing them remains obscure.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1005161620492
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,126
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Frege: Two Theses, Two Senses.Carlo Penco - 2003 - History and Philosophy of Logic 24 (2):87-109.
Frege, Hilbert, and the Conceptual Structure of Model Theory.William Demopoulos - 1994 - History and Philosophy of Logic 15 (2):211-225.
Frege's Alleged Realism.Hans D. Sluga - 1977 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 20 (1-4):227 – 242.
Frege‐Russell Semantics?Howard Wettstein - 1990 - Dialectica 44 (1‐2):113-135.
Frege on Indirect Proof.Ivan Welty - 2011 - History and Philosophy of Logic 32 (3):283-290.
Frege's New Science.G. Aldo Antonelli & Robert C. May - 2000 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 41 (3):242-270.
Cognitive Dynamics and Indexicals.Simon Prosser - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (4):369–391.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

74 ( #71,263 of 2,171,911 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #326,614 of 2,171,911 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums