Does Semantic Relationism Solve Frege's Puzzle?

Journal of Philosophical Logic 46 (1):97-118 (2017)
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Abstract

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.

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Author Profiles

Bryan Pickel
University of Glasgow
Brian Rabern
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

The Antinomy of the Variable: A Tarskian Resolution.Bryan Pickel & Brian Rabern - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (3):137-170.
Relational approaches to Frege's puzzle.Aidan Gray - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (10):e12429.
Frege’s puzzle is about identity after all.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):628-643.
Cognitive Significance.Aidan Gray - 2021 - In Heimir Geirsson & Stephen Biggs (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. New York: Routledge.
Frege’s Puzzle and Semantic Relationism.Surajit Barua - 2019 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 36 (1):197-210.

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References found in this work

Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Frege’s Puzzle (2nd edition).Nathan U. Salmon - 1986 - Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Company.
Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Uber Sinn und Bedeutung.Gottlob Frege - 1892 - Zeitschrift für Philosophie Und Philosophische Kritik 100 (1):25-50.
A puzzle about belief.Saul A. Kripke - 1979 - In A. Margalit (ed.), Meaning and Use. Reidel. pp. 239--83.

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