On Redrawing the Force-Content Distinction

Nordic Wittgenstein Review 8 (1-2):175-208 (2019)
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Abstract

Frege distinguished the thought qua logical content from the assertoric force attached to it when judged to be true. The gist of this distinction is captured by the so-called Frege-Geach point. Recently, several authors have drawn inspiration from Wittgenstein to reject this point and the distinction it is based on. This article proceeds from the observation that Wittgenstein himself did not reject the force-content distinction but urged us to reformulate it in a non-dualistic way. While drawing on Wittgensteinian lessons about thought and its expression, the overall purpose of this paper is systematic, not exegetic: it seeks to contribute to the contemporary debate aboute force and content by arguing that this distinction should be redrawn in such a way as to exhibit force as internal to thought, namely, as that which provides for the unity of thought. To this end, it is investigated what it is for a thought to occur as a forceless part of a propositionally complex assertion (e. g. for p to occur as a part of the assertion that not p).

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Christian Martin
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

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References found in this work

The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1940 - Open Court. Edited by David Pears.
Propositional Content.Peter Hanks - 2015 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Assertion.Peter Geach - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (4):449-465.
Origins of analytical philosophy.Michael Dummett - 1993 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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