Philosophy 72 (281):375 - 382 (1997)

Frege's doctrine that the demonstrative ‘I’ has a private, incommunicable sense creates tension within his theory of meaning. Fregean sense is supposed to be something objective, which exists independently of its being cognized by anyone. And the notion of a private sense corresponding to primitive aspects of an individual of which only he can be awaredoes violence both to Frege's theory of sense as well as to our notionof language as something essentially intersubjective. John Perry has arguedthat Frege was led to the doctrine of private senses in spite of his beliefin the objectivity of sense through his attempt to solve a problem which indexicals posed for his theory. And while philosophers have argued about whether the notion of a private sense is in fact problematic for Frege, they have tended to share Perry's assumption about its origin
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100057065
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