Hyperintensional semantics: a Fregean approach

Synthese:1-24 (forthcoming)

Authors
Mattias Skipper
Aarhus University
Abstract
In this paper, we present a new semantic framework designed to capture a distinctly cognitive or epistemic notion of meaning akin to Fregean senses. Traditional Carnapian intensions are too coarse-grained for this purpose: they fail to draw semantic distinctions between sentences that, from a Fregean perspective, differ in meaning. This has led some philosophers to introduce more fine-grained hyperintensions that allow us to draw semantic distinctions among co-intensional sentences. But the hyperintensional strategy has a flip-side: it risks drawing semantic distinctions between sentences that, from a Fregean perspective, do not differ in meaning. This is what we call the ‘new problem’ of hyperintensionality to distinguish it from the ‘old problem’ that faced the intensional theory. We show that our semantic framework offers a joint solution to both these problems in virtue of satisfying a version of Frege’s so-called ‘equipollence principle’ for sense individuation. Frege’s principle, we argue, not only captures the semantic intuitions that give rise to the old and the new problem of hyperintensionality, but also points the way to an independently motivated solution to both problems.
Keywords Hyperintensionality  Semantic content  Possible worlds  Impossible worlds  Fregean content
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-01900-4
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