Toward a New Theory of Fregean Sense

Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago (1992)

While Frege himself and many other Fregeans emphasized the objectivity of Fregean Sense, Frege, in "The Thought" and even in "Sense and Reference," also discussed some epistemological issues concerning the Sense of expressions in natural language, which neither his distinction of Sense and Reference alone, nor his emphasis on objectivity of thoughts can successfully resolve. Proper names and indexical 'I' especially, present Frege with cases in which a detailed explanation of "how each of us thinks about the referent of a given expression" is required. This dissertation aims to give an account of Fregean Sense that can answer to the epistemological questions Frege raised about the Sense of descriptive names, proper names, and demonstratives and indexical 'I.' ;Kaplan's Direct Reference theory is criticized as a distortion of Frege's epistemological intuitions about Sense in general and about the Sense of indexicals in specific. Adopting the line that interprets Fregean Sense in terms of informational content, I propose a new theory of Fregean Sense, the Promptor theory. By using the notion of prompting and of the two levels of information, the Promptor theory resolves epistemological questions Frege raised concerning Sense
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