The Composition of Thoughts

Noûs 45 (1):126-166 (2011)
Abstract
Are Fregean thoughts compositionally complex and composed of senses? We argue that, in Begriffsschrift, Frege took 'conceptual contents' to be unstructured, but that he quickly moved away from this position, holding just two years later that conceptual contents divide of themselves into 'function' and 'argument'. This second position is shown to be unstable, however, by Frege's famous substitution puzzle. For Frege, the crucial question the puzzle raises is why "The Morning Star is a planet" and "The Evening Star is a planet" have different contents, but his second position predicts that they should have the same content. Frege's response to this antinomy is of course to distinguish sense from reference, but what has not previously been noticed is that this response also requires thoughts to be compositionally complex, composed of senses. That, however, raises the question just how thoughts are composed from senses. We reconstruct a Fregean answer, one that turns on an insistence that this question must be understood as semantic rather than metaphysical. It is not a question about the intrinsic nature of residents of the third realm but a question about how thoughts are expressed by sentences.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00769.x
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References found in this work BETA
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - Oxford University Press, Usa.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Posthumous Writings.Gottlob Frege - 1991 - Wiley-Blackwell.

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Citations of this work BETA
Individuating Fregean Sense.Jeff Speaks - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):634-654.
Frege on Sense Identity, Basic Law V, and Analysis.Philip A. Ebert - 2016 - Philosophia Mathematica 24 (1):9-29.

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