Frege'spuzzle is a fundamental challenge for accounts of mental and linguistic representation. This piece surveys a family of recent approaches to the puzzle that posit representational relations. I identify the central commitments of relational approaches and present several arguments for them. I also distinguish two kinds of relationism—semantic relationism and formal relationism—corresponding to two conceptions of representational relations. I briefly discuss the consequences of relational approaches for foundational questions about propositional attitudes, intentional explanation, and compositionality.
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. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that a number of recent Russell interpreters, including Evans, Davidson, Campbell, and Proops, mistakenly attribute to Russell what I call ‘the received view of acquaintance’: the view that acquaintance safeguards us from misidentifying the objects of our acquaintance. I contend that Russell’s discussions of phenomenal continua cases show that he does not accept the received view of acquaintance. I also show that the possibility of misidentifying the objects of acquaintance should be unsurprising given underappreciated aspects (...) of Russell’s overall theory of knowledge and acquaintance. Finally, I consider the radical impact that Russell’s actual views on acquaintance have for our understanding of his well-known George IV case in ‘On Denoting’. In particular, I argue that Russell’s treatment of the George IV case is not a one-size-fits-all solution to Frege’s Puzzle and provides no support for the received view of acquaintance. (shrink)
According to an influential variety of the representational view of perceptual experience—the singular content view—the contents of perceptual experiences include singular propositions partly composed of the particular physical object a given experience is about or of. The singular content view faces well-known difficulties accommodating hallucinations; I maintain that there is also an analogue of Frege'spuzzle that poses a significant problem for this view. In fact, I believe that this puzzle presents difficulties for the theory that are (...) unique to perception in that strategies that have been developed to respond to Frege'spuzzle in the case of belief cannot be employed successfully in the case of perception. Ultimately, I maintain that this perceptual analogue of Frege'spuzzle provides a compelling reason to reject the singular content view of perceptual experience. (shrink)
Berg seeks to defend the theory that the meaning of a proper name in a belief report is its reference against Frege’s puzzle by hypothesizing that when substituting coreferential names in belief reports results in reports that seem to have different truth values, the appearance is due to the fact that the reports have different metalinguistic implicatures. I review evidence that implicatures cannot be calculated in the way Grice or Berg imagine, and give reasons to believe that belief reports (...) do not have the implicatures Berg attributes to them. I also argue that even if belief reports did have such implicatures, they would not explain why the belief reports in Frege’s puzzle seem to have different truth values. I point out that Berg has no reason to believe that Lois Lane believes Clark Kent is a reporter and Lois Lane believes Superman is a reporter are both true rather than both false, and that Leibniz’s Law cannot be used to defend substitutivity in belief reports because belief reports are not relational in the requisite way. Finally, I observe that some of the linguistic data Berg uses to argue for substitutivity in belief reports concerns the transparent interpretation of belief reports, whereas Frege’s puzzle concerns the opaque interpretation. (shrink)
Gottlob Frege maintained that two name-containing identity sentences, represented schematically as a=a and a=b,can both be true in virtue of the same object’s self-identity but nonetheless, puzzlingly, differ in their epistemic profiles. Frege eventually resolved his puzzlement by locating the source of the purported epistemic difference between the identity sentences in a difference in the Sinne, or senses, expressed by the names that the sentences contain. -/- Thus, Frege portrayed himself as describing a puzzle that can be posed prior (...) to and independently of any particular theoretical position regarding names, and then resolving that puzzle with his theory of Sinn and Bedeutung. In this paper, I suggest that Frege’s presentation is problematic. If attempt is made to characterize the epistemic status of true identity sentences without appeal to Frege’s theoretical commitments, then what initially seemed puzzling largely dissolves. It turns out that, in order to generate puzzlement, Frege must invoke the theoretical account that he uses the puzzle to establish the purported necessity of. (shrink)
Many philosophers have argued or taken for granted that Frege'spuzzle has little or nothing to do with identity statements. I show that this is wrong, arguing that the puzzle can only be motivated relative to a thinker's beliefs about the identity or distinctness of the relevant object. The result is important, as it suggests that the puzzle can be solved, not by a semantic theory of names or referring expressions as such, but simply by a (...) theory of identity statements. To show this, I sketch a framework for developing solutions of this sort. I also consider how this result could be implemented by two influential solutions to Frege'spuzzle, Perry's referential-reflexivism and Fine's semantic relationism. (shrink)
Millians sometimes claim that we can explain the fact that sentences like "If Hesperus exists, then Hesperus is Phosphorus" seem a posteriori to speakers in terms of the fact that utterances of sentences of this sort would typically pragmatically convey propositions which really are a posteriori. I argue that this kind of pragmatic explanation of the seeming a posterioricity of sentences of this sort fails. The main reason is that for every sentence like the above which (by Millian lights) is (...) a priori, seems a posteriori to most speakers, and would typically be used to convey a posteriori propositions, there is another which (again, by Millian lights) is a priori, seems a posteriori to most speakers, but can only typically be used to convey a priori propositions. (shrink)
So-called 'Frege cases' pose a challenge for anyone who would hope to treat the contents of beliefs (and similar mental states) as Russellian propositions: It is then impossible to explain people's behavior in Frege cases without invoking non-intentional features of their mental states, and doing that seems to undermine the intentionality of psychological explanation. In the present paper, I develop this sort of objection in what seems to me to be its strongest form, but then offer a response to it. (...) I grant that psychological explanation must invoke non-intentional features of mental states, but it is of crucial importance which such features must be referenced. -/- It emerges from a careful reading of Frege's own view that we need only invoke what I call 'formal' relations between mental states. I then claim that referencing such 'formal' relations within psychological explanation does not undermine its intentionality in the way that invoking, say, neurological features would. The central worry about this view is that either (a) 'formal' relations bring narrow content in through back door or (b) 'formal' relations end up doing all the explanatory work. Various forms of each worry are discussed. The crucial point, ultimately, is that the present strategy for responding to Frege cases is not available either to the 'psycho-Fregean', who would identify the content of a belief with its truth-value, nor even to someone who would identify the content of a belief with a set of possible worlds. It requires the sort of rich semantic structure that is distinctive of Russellian propositions. There is therefore no reason to suppose that the invocation of 'formal' relations threatens to deprive content of any work to do. (shrink)
The objects of credence are the entities to which credences are assigned for the purposes of a successful theory of credence. I use cases akin to Frege'spuzzle to argue against referentialism about credence : the view that objects of credence are determined by the objects and properties at which one's credence is directed. I go on to develop a non-referential account of the objects of credence in terms of sets of epistemically possible scenarios.
This paper provides a new approach to a family of outstanding logical and semantical puzzles, the most famous being Frege'spuzzle. The three main reductionist theories of propositions (the possible-worlds theory, the propositional-function theory, the propositional-complex theory) are shown to be vulnerable to Benacerraf-style problems, difficulties involving modality, and other problems. The nonreductionist algebraic theory avoids these problems and allows us to identify the elusive nondescriptive, non-metalinguistic, necessary propositions responsible for the indicated family of puzzles. The algebraic approach (...) is also used to defend antiexistentialism against existentialist prejudices. The paper closes with a suggestion about how this theory of content might enable us to give purely semantic (as opposed to pragmatic) solutions to the puzzles based on a novel formulation of the principle of compositionality. (shrink)
ABSTRACT In this paper, I argue that a number of influential Millian responses to Frege’s puzzle, which consist in denying that Frege’s data apply to natural languages, are not viable if logic is to play its role in legitimizing the logical appraisal of rational subjects. A notion of validity which does justice to the normativity of logic must make room for a distinction between valid inferences and enthymemes. I discuss the prospects of formal, relevant and manifest validity as candidates (...) for a notion which complies with this desideratum. Their success, or failure is argued to hang on the viability of a semantical account of de jure co-reference, which is in tension with standard Millian tenets. I conclude that these Millian theories face the following dilemma: either accept that there is no notion of logical validity which makes logic normative for reasoning, thus jeopardizing our well entrenched practices of rational appraisal; or accept that de jure co-reference is a real semantical relation. (shrink)
A standard strategy for defending a claim of non-identity is one which invokes Leibniz’s Law. (1) Fa (2) ~Fb (3) (∀x)(∀y)(x=y ⊃ (∀P)(Px ⊃ Py)) (4) a=b ⊃ (Fa ⊃ Fb) (5) a≠b In Kalderon’s view, this basic strategy underlies both Moore’s Open Question Argument (OQA) as well as (a variant formulation of) Frege’s puzzle (FP). In the former case, the argument runs from the fact that some natural property—call it “F-ness”—has, but goodness lacks, the (2nd order) property of (...) its being an open question whether everything that instantiates it is good to the conclusion that goodness and F-ness are distinct. And in the latter case, the argument runs from the fact that that Hesperus has, but Phosphorus lacks, the property of being believed by the ancient astronomers to be visible in the evening sky to the conclusion that Hesperus and Phosphorus are distinct. Kalderon argues that both the OQA and FP fail because in neither case is there good reason to believe that both (1) and (2) are true. The reason we are tempted to believe that they are true is because we mistake de dicto claims for de re claims. In order for FP to go through, the truth of the following de re claims needs to be established: FP1) Hesperus was believed by the ancient astronomers to be visible in the evening sky. (shrink)
There is no doubt that social interaction plays an important role in language-learning, as well as in concept acquisition. In surprising contrast, social interaction makes only passing appearance in our most promising naturalistic theories of content. This is particularly true in the case of mental content (e.g., Cummins, 1996; Dretske, 1981, 1988; Fodor, 1987, 1990a; Millikan, 1984); and insofar as linguistic content derives from mental content (Grice, 1957), social interaction seems missing from our best naturalistic theories of both.1 In this (...) paper, I explore the ways in which even the most individualistic of theories of mental content can, and should, accommodate social effects. I focus especially on the way in which inferential relations, including those that are socially taught, influence language-learning and concept acquisition. I argue that these factors affect the way subjects conceive of mental and linguistic content. Such effects have a dark side: the social and inferential processes in question give rise to misleading intuitions about content itself. They create the illusion that content and inferential relations are more deeply intertwined than they actually are. This illusion confounds an otherwise attractive solution to what is known as ‘Frege’s puzzle’ (Salmon, 1986). I.. (shrink)
Frege'spuzzle about identity sentences has long challenged many philosophers to find a solution to it but also led other philosophers to object that the evidential datum it is grounded on is false. The present work is an elaboration of this second kind of reaction: it explains why Frege'spuzzle seems to resist the traditional objection, giving voice to different and more elaborated presentations of the evidential datum, faithful to the spirit but not to the letter (...) of Frege'spuzzle. The final outcome is negative, no satisfactory formulation of the evidential datum is found and Frege'spuzzle is challenged until a better formulation of it is found. (shrink)
In this note I argue that, relative to certain largely uncontroversial background conditions, any instance of Mates’ Puzzle is equivalent to some instance of Frege’s Puzzle. If correct, this result is surprising. For, barring the radical move of rejecting the possibility of synonymous expressions in a language tout court, it shows that there is no strictly lexical solution to at least some instances of Frege’s Puzzle. This forces the hand of theorists who wish to provide a semantic (...) (rather than pragmatic) solution to Frege’s Puzzle. The only option open will be modify in one way or another the standard formulation of semantic compositionality. (shrink)
The paper discusses the emergence of Frege'spuzzle and the introduction of the celebrated distinction between sense and reference in the context of Frege's logicist project. The main aim of the paper is to show that not logicism per se is mainly responsible for this introduction, but Frege's constant struggle against formalism. Thus, the paper enlarges the historical context, and provides a reconstruction of Frege's philosophical development from this broader perspective.
In the paper, I discuss a possibility of defending the Direct Reference theory from its most dangerous threaten which is the notorious Frege'spuzzle. I discuss two possible ways of doing that. First is based on King's theory of propositions as facts. I show that tools provided by King's theory are not enough to solve the puzzle. More promising is a method supported by new Soames's theory of propositions as cognitive event-types. I try to show that this (...) framework allows us to develop a satisfying solution of the puzzle, which focuses on the notion of the cognitive value of the sentence. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to give a detailed reconstruction of Frege's solution to his puzzle about the cognitive function of truth, which is this: On the one hand, the concept of truth seems to play an essential role in acquiring knowledge because the transition from the mere hypothetical assumption that p to the acknowledgement of its truth is a crucial step in acquiring the knowledge that p, while, on the other hand, this concept seems to be (...) completely redundant because the sense of the word 'true' does not make any essential contribution to the senses of the sentences in which it occurs. (shrink)
Saul Kripke's puzzle about belief demonstrates the lack of soundness of the traditional argument for the Fregean fundamental principle that the sentences 'S believes that a is F' and 'S believes that b is F' can differ in truth value even if a = b. This principle is a crucial premise in the traditional Fregean argument for the existence of semantically relevant senses, individuative elements of beliefs that are sensitive to our varying conceptions of what the beliefs are about. (...) Joseph Owens has offered a new argument for this fundamental principle, one that is not subject to Kripke's criticisms. I argue that even though Owens' argument avoids Kripke's criticisms, it has other flaws. (shrink)
Gary Ostertag has presented a new puzzle for Russellianism about belief reports. He argues that Russellians do not have the resources to solve this puzzle in terms of pragmatic phenomena. I argue to the contrary that the puzzle can be solved according to Nathan Salmon’s pragmatic account of belief reports, provided that the account is properly understood. Specifically, the puzzle can be solved so long as Salmon’s guises are not identified with sentences.
Fregeanism and Relationism are competing families of solutions to Frege’s Puzzle, and by extension, competing theories of propositional representation. My aim is to clarify what is at stake between them by characterizing and evaluating a Relationist argument. Relationists claim that it is cognitively possible for distinct token propositional attitudes to be, in a sense, qualitatively indistinguishable: to differ in no intrinsic representational features. The idea of an ‘intrinsic representational feature’ is not, however, made especially clear in the argument. I (...) clarify it here and, having done so, offer reason to doubt the argument. This will put us in a position to draw some lessons about the relation between object-directed and representation-internal aspects of cognitive significance. (shrink)
The article presents Frege's distinction between Sense and Reference. After a short introduction, it explains the puzzle which gave rise to the distinction; Frege's earlier solution, and his reasons for its later repudiation. The distinction, which embodies Frege's second solution, is then discussed in two phases. The first, which is restricted to proper names, sets out its most basic features. The second discusses 'empty' names; indirect speech, and the distinction for predicates and for complete sentences. Finally, (...) two criticisms, by Russell and by Kripke, are briefly set out. (shrink)
In this paper I present and discuss the solution offered by John Perry to Frege’s Puzzle in terms of the reflexive content of utterances. I first discuss his purported solution for the indexical version of the Puzzle, and argue that reflexive content cannot explain the triviality of some utterances. Hence, it is not the sort of thing that accounts for cognitive significance adequately. I then discuss Perry’s solution for the Puzzle as arising for proper names. I argue (...) that, even if reflexive content does explain cognitive significance in this case, it does not do so in terms of the meaning of expressions, as Perry originally intended. (shrink)
Frege introduced the distinction between sense and reference to account for the information conveyed by identity statements. We can put the point like this: if the meaning of a term is exhausted by what it stands for, then how can 'a =a' and 'a =b' differ in meaning? Yet it seems they do, for someone who understands all the terms involved would not necessarily judge that a =b even though they judged that a =a. It seems that 'a =b' just (...) says something more than the trivial ’a = a' - it seems to contain more information, in some sense of 'information'. So either we have to add something to explain this extra information, or sever the very plausible links between meaning and understanding. This is what some writers have called 'Frege'sPuzzle' It is undeniable that there is a phenomenon here to be explained, and it was Frege's insight to see the need for its explanation. But how should we explain it? Frege's idea was to add another semantic notion - Sinn, or Sense -— to account for the information conveyed. Sense is part of the meaning of an expression: it is the 'cognitive value' of the expression, or that ’wherein the mode of presentation is contained' (Frege 1957 p.57). Sense has a role to play in systematically determining the meanings of complex expressions, and ultimately in fixing the contents of judgements. It is the senses of whole sentences — Gedanken or Thoughts - which are candidates for truth and falsehood, and which are thus the objects of our propositional attitudes. Of course, introducing the notion of sense in this way does not, by itself, tell us what sense is. It only imposes a condition on a theory of meaning (and ultimately) belief: that it must account for distinctions in cognitive value or 'mode of presentation' (this is not a trivial thesis —- some philosophers today would deny that an explanation of Frege'sPuzzle must occur within semantics or the theory of meaning: see Salmon 1985). In this paper I want to explore one way of meeting this condition for the theory of names in natural language, by examining Kripke's well-known 'Puzzle about Belief' (Kripke 1979).. (shrink)
This paper brings to light a new puzzle for Frege interpretation, and offers a solution to that puzzle. The puzzle concerns Frege’s judgement-stroke (‘|’), and consists in a tension between three of Frege’s claims. First, Frege vehemently maintains that psychological considerations should have no place in logic. Second, Frege regards the judgementstroke—and the associated dissociation of assertoric force from content, of the act of judgement from the subject matter about which judgement is made—as a crucial part of (...) his logic. Third, Frege holds that judging is an inner mental process, and that the distinction marked by the judgement-stroke, between entertaining a thought and judging that it is true, is a psychological distinction. I argue that what initially looks like confusion here on Frege’s part appears quite reasonable when we remind ourselves of the differences between Frege’s conception of logic and our own. (shrink)
A traditional argument is often used against Mill's theory of names (the meaning of a name is exhausted by its referent). Mill's theory implies transparency of proper names (coreferring proper names are substitutable salva veritate); but examples like Frege's and Quine's show that proper names are not transparent in belief contexts. This could be thought to be a reductio ad absurdum of Mill's theory. In " A puzzle about Belief" (1979; 1988) Kripke builds up an argument which aims (...) to show that the same problems, given by the principle of transparency of proper names, can also be generated without the use of that principle, but with some weaker and more general principles, which seem to be difficult to reject. (see Donellan) Therefore, the traditional argument against Mill's theory does not work. If you want to reject Mill's theory with some reductio ad absurdum, you should reject two very intuitive and apparently valid principles. The well known puzzle is based on the assumption that our speaker is normal non omniscient, sincere, reflective and not conceptually confused. The two principles used are the Disquotational Principle (DP) and the Translation Principle (TP). (shrink)
Hume's puzzle about identity is not semantic, like Frege's, but concerns representation-as. It concerns not what there is which a representation represents, but rather what the representation represents there as being. Hume asks, what do we represent there as being when we realize that something and something are for all we know numerically identical and for all we know numerically distinct? I show that we must represent there as perhaps being something that perhaps is distinct from itself. But (...) we have no way to do this without a way to consistently represent something as being distinct from itself. (shrink)
We explore the view that Frege'spuzzle is a source of straightforward counterexamples to Leibniz's law. Taking this seriously requires us to revise the classical logic of quantifiers and identity; we work out the options, in the context of higher-order logic. The logics we arrive at provide the resources for a straightforward semantics of attitude reports that is consistent with the Millian thesis that the meaning of a name is just the thing it stands for. We provide models (...) to show that some of these logics are non-degenerate. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to lay out the algebraic approach to propositions and then to show how it can be implemented in new solutions to Frege'spuzzle and a variety of related puzzles about content.