The received view has it that analytic philosophy emerged as a rebellion against the German Idealists (above all Hegel) and their British epigones (the British neo-Hegelians). This at least was Russell’s story: the German Idealism failed to achieve solid results in philosophy. Of course, Frege too sought after solid results. He, however, had a different story to tell. Frege never spoke against Hegel, or Fichte. Similarly to the German Idealists, his sworn enemy was the empiricism (in his case, (...) John Stuart Mill). Genealogically, this stance is not difficult to explain. Frege grew up as a philosopher in the context of the German Idealists. He was a member of Karl Snell’s “Sunday Circle” of university teachers in Jena. The group was influenced with Schelling and the German romanticists. The first Anglophone scholar to point out what Frege's thought owes to nineteenth-century Germany philosophy, Hans Sluga, argued that Frege followed the philosophical-logical tradition originating with Leibniz and Kant which Trendelenburg and Lotze developed significantly. About the same time, a philosophical historian writing in German, Gottfried Gabriel, did much to bring this tradition to light, casting Frege as neo-Kantian. Advancing beyond Sluga and Gabriel, the present paper reveals that through the mediation of Trendelenburg and especially of Lotze many elements of German idealism found their way into Frege's logic and philosophy. (shrink)
I resolve the major challenge to an Expressivist theory of the meaning of normative discourse: the Frege–Geach Problem. Drawing on considerations from the semantics of directive language (e.g., imperatives), I argue that, although certain forms of Expressivism (like Gibbard’s) do run into at least one version of the Problem, it is reasonably clear that there is a version of Expressivism that does not.
Frege and Peano started in 1896 a debate where they contrasted the respective conceptions on the theory and practice of mathematical definitions. Which was (if any) the influence of the Frege-Peano debate on the conceptions by the two authors on the theme of defining in mathematics and which was the role played by this debate in the broader context of their scientific interaction?
An investigation of Frege’s various contributions to the study of language, focusing on three of his most famous doctrines: that concepts are unsaturated, that sentences refer to truth-values, and that sense must be distinguished from reference.
Frege's logicist program requires that arithmetic be reduced to logic. Such a program has recently been revamped by the "neologicist" approach of Hale and Wright. Less attention has been given to Frege's extensionalist program, according to which arithmetic is to be reconstructed in terms of a theory of extensions of concepts. This paper deals just with such a theory. We present a system of second-order logic augmented with a predicate representing the fact that an object x is the (...) extension of a concept C, together with extra-logical axioms governing such a predicate, and show that arithmetic can be obtained in such a framework. As a philosophical payoff, we investigate the status of the so-called Hume's Principle and its connections to the root of the contradiction in Frege's system. (shrink)
Frege's theory of indirect contexts and the shift of sense and reference in these contexts has puzzled many. What can the hierarchy of indirect senses, doubly indirect senses, and so on, be? Donald Davidson gave a well-known 'unlearnability' argument against Frege's theory. The present paper argues that the key to Frege's theory lies in the fact that whenever a reference is specified (even though many senses determine a single reference), it is specified in a particular way, so (...) that giving a reference implies giving a sense; and that one must be 'acquainted' with the sense. It is argued that an indirect sense must be 'immediately revelatory' of its reference. General principles for Frege's doctrine of sense and reference are sated, for both direct and indirect quotation, to be understood iteratively. I also discuss Frege's doctrine of tensed and first person statements in the light of my analysis. The views of various other authors are examined. The conclusion is to ascribe to Frege an implicit doctrine of acquaintance similar to that of Russell. (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)
I argue that Frege's so-called "concept 'horse' problem" is not one problem but many. When these separate sub-problems are distinguished, some are revealed to be more tractable than others. I further argue that there is, contrary to a widespread scholarly assumption originating with Peter Geach, little evidence that Frege was concerned with the general problem of the inexpressibility of logical category distinctions in writings available to Wittgenstein. In consequence, Geach is mistaken in thinking that in the Tractatus Wittgenstein (...) simply accepts from Frege certain lessons about the inexpressibility of logical category distinctions and the say-show distinction. In truth, Wittgenstein drew his own morals about these matters, quite possibly as the result of reflecting on how the general problem of the inexpressibility of logical category distinctions arises in Frege's writings , but also, quite possibly, by seeing certain glimmerings of these doctrines in the writings of Russell. (shrink)
This is an opinionated overview of the Frege-Geach problem, in both its historical and contemporary guises. Covers Higher-order Attitude approaches, Tree-tying, Gibbard-style solutions, and Schroeder's recent A-type expressivist solution.
In the section “Validity and Existence in Logik, Book III,” I explain Lotze’s famous distinction between existence and validity in Book III of Logik. In the following section, “Lotze’s Platonism,” I put this famous distinction in the context of Lotze’s attempt to distinguish his own position from hypostatic Platonism and consider one way of drawing the distinction: the hypostatic Platonist accepts that there are propositions, whereas Lotze rejects this. In the section “Two Perspectives on Frege’s Platonism,” I argue that (...) this is an unsatisfactory way of reading Lotze’s Platonism and that the Ricketts-Reck reading of Frege is in fact the correct way of thinking about Lotze’s Platonism. (shrink)
Expressivists, such as Blackburn, analyse sentences such as 'S thinks that it ought to be the case that p' as S hoorays that p'. A problem is that the former sentence can be negated in three different ways, but the latter in only two. The distinction between refusing to accept a moral judgement and accepting its negation therefore cannot be accounted for. This is shown to undermine Blackburn's solution to the Frege-Geach problem.
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)
Frege's puzzle 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.
The ideas of the German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege lie at the root of the analytical movement in philosophy. Frege and Other Philosophers comprises all of Professor Dummett's published and previously unpublished essays on Frege, with the exception of those included in his Truth and Other Enigmas. In some of these essays he explores the relation of Frege's ideas to those of his predecessors and contemporaries. In others he considers critically some interpretations of Frege, (...) and develops the argument for a sound understanding of Frege's thought which he first delineated in The Interpretation of Frege's Philosophy. Several of the essays illustrate his contention that Frege's work remains the best starting point for the investigation of problems concerning truth, meaning, thought, and language, which are still among the most contentious issues in modern analytical philosophy. Any discussion of Frege's ideas is therefore also an exploration of fundamental and as yet unresolved issues of philosophy. (shrink)
This book aims to develop certain aspects of Gottlob Frege’s theory of meaning, especially those relevant to intensional logic. It offers a new interpretation of the nature of senses, and attempts to devise a logical calculus for the theory of sense and reference that captures as closely as possible the views of the historical Frege. (The approach is contrasted with the less historically-minded Logic of Sense and Denotation of Alonzo Church.) Comparisons of Frege’s theory with those of (...) Russell and others are given. It is in the end shown that developing Frege’s theory in these ways reveals serious problems hitherto largely unnoticed, including those possibly rendering a Fregean intensional logic inconsistent even if his naïve class theory is excluded. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore Fregean metatheory, what Frege called the New Science. The New Science arises in the context of Frege’s debate with Hilbert over independence proofs in geometry and we begin by considering their dispute. We propose that Frege’s critique rests on his view that language is a set of propositions, each immutably equipped with a truth value (as determined by the thought it expresses), so to Frege it was inconceivable that axioms could even (...) be considered to be other than true. Because of his adherence to this view, Frege was precluded from the sort of metatheoretical considerations that were available to Hilbert; but from this, we shall argue, it does not follow that Frege was blocked from metatheory in toto. Indeed, Frege suggests in Die Grundlagen der Geometrie a metatheoretical method for establishing independence proofs in the context of the New Science. Frege had reservations about the method, however, primarily because of the apparent need to stipulate the logical terms, those terms that must be held invariant to obtain such proofs. We argue that Frege’s skepticism on this score is not warranted, by showing that within the New Science a characterization of logical truth and logical constant can be obtained by a suitable adaptation of the permutation argument Frege employs in indicating how to prove independence. This establishes a foundation for Frege’s metatheoretical method of which he himself was unsure, and allows us to obtain a clearer understanding of Frege’s conception of logic, especially in relation to contemporary conceptions. (shrink)
This paper challenges a standard interpretation according to which Frege’s conception of logic (early and late) is at odds with the contemporary one, because on the latter’s view logic is formal, while on Frege’s view it is not, given that logic’s subject matter is reality’s most general features. I argue that Frege – in Begriffsschrift – retained the idea that logic is formal; Frege sees logic as providing the ‘logical cement’ that ties up together the contentful (...) concepts of specific sciences, not the most general truths. Finally, I discuss how Frege conceives of the application of Begriffsschrift, and of its status as a ‘lingua characteristica’. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the question of logic’s normative status in the light of Carnap’s Principle of Tolerance. I begin by contrasting Carnap’s conception of the normativity of logic with that of his teacher, Frege. I identify two core features of Frege’s position: first, the normative force of the logical laws is grounded in their descriptive adequacy; second, norms implied by logic are constitutive for thinking as such. While Carnap breaks with Frege’s absolutism about logic and (...) hence with the notion that any system of logic should have a privileged claim to correctness, I argue that there is a sense in which Carnap’s framework-relative conception of logical norms has a constitutive role to play: though they are not constitutive for the conceptual activity for thinking, they do nevertheless set the ground rules that make certain forms of scientific inquiry possible in the first place. I conclude that Carnap’s principle of tolerance is tamer than one might have thought and that, despite remaining differences, Frege’s and Carnap’s conceptions of logic have more in common than one might have thought. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 95, Issue 3, pp 368 - 413 Frege famously maintained that concepts are not objects. A key argument of Frege’s for this view is, in outline, as follows: if we are to account for the unity of thought, concepts must be deemed _unsaturated_; since objects are, by contrast, saturated entities, concepts cannot be objects. The author investigates what can be made of this argument and, in particular, of the unsaturated/saturated distinction it invokes. Systematically exploring a (...) range of reconstructions suggested by Frege’s writings, and drawing on contemporary work, the author illustrates that no plausible reconstruction is forthcoming. In essence, it is altogether unclear how to simultaneously substantiate, on the one hand, the claim that unsaturated entities must be recognized in order to account for unity and, on the other, the claim that unsaturatedness is incompatible with objecthood. (shrink)
In the opening to his late essay, Der Gedanke, Frege asserts without qualification that the word "true" points the way for logic. But in a short piece from his Nachlass entitled "y Basic Logical Insights", Frege writes that the word true makes an unsuccessful attempt to point to the essence of logic, asserting instead that "what really pertains to logic lies not in the word "true" but in the assertoric force with which the sentence is uttered". Properly understanding (...) what Frege takes to be at issue here is crucial for understanding his conception of logic and, in particular, what he takes to be its normative status vis-à-vis judgement, assertion, and inference. In this paper, I focus my attention on clarifying the latter claim and Frege's motivations for making it, exposing what I take to be a fundamental tension in Frege's conception of logic. Finally, I discuss whether Frege's deployment of the horizontal in his mature Begriffsschrift helps to resolve this tension. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The problem of the unity of the proposition asks what binds together the constituents of a proposition into a fully formed proposition that provides truth conditions for the assertoric sentence that expresses it, rather than merely a set of objects. Hanks’ solution is to reject the traditional distinction between content and force. If his theory is successful, then there is a plausible extension of it that readily solves the Frege–Geach problem for normative propositions. Unfortunately Hanks’ theory isn’t successful, but (...) it does point to significant connections between expressivism, unity, and embedding. (shrink)
This paper concerns the dialectal role of Frege Cases in the debate between Concept Cartesians and Concept Pragmatists. I take as a starting point Christopher Peacocke’s argument that, unlike Cartesianism, his ‘Fregean’ Pragmatism can account for facts about the rationality and epistemic status of certain judgments. I argue that since this argument presupposes that the rationality of thoughts turn on their content, it is thus question-begging against Cartesians, who claim that issues about rationality turn on the form, not the (...) content, of thoughts. I then consider Jerry Fodor’s argument that ‘modes of presentation’ are not identical with Fregean senses, and argue that explanatory considerations should leads us to reject his ‘syntactic’ treatment of Frege cases. Rejecting the Cartesian treatment of Frege cases, however, is not tantamount to accepting Peacocke’s claim that reasons and rationality are central to the individuation of concepts. For I argue that we can steer a middle course between Fodor’s Cartesianism and Peacocke’s Pragmatism, and adopt a form of Pragmatism that is constrained by Fregean considerations, but at the same time denies that concepts are constitutively tied to reasons and rationality. (shrink)
This paper concentrates on some aspects of the history of the analytic-synthetic distinction from Kant to Bolzano and Frege. This history evinces considerable continuity but also some important discontinuities. The analytic-synthetic distinction has to be seen in the first place in relation to a science, i.e. an ordered system of cognition. Looking especially to the place and role of logic it will be argued that Kant, Bolzano and Frege each developed the analytic-synthetic distinction within the same conception of (...) scientific rationality, that is, within the Classical Model of Science: scientific knowledge as cognitio ex principiis . But as we will see, the way the distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments or propositions functions within this model turns out to differ considerably between them. (shrink)
Frege's Grundgesetze was one of the 19th century forerunners to contemporary set theory which was plagued by the Russell paradox. In recent years, it has been shown that subsystems of the Grundgesetze formed by restricting the comprehension schema are consistent. One aim of this paper is to ascertain how much set theory can be developed within these consistent fragments of the Grundgesetze, and our main theorem shows that there is a model of a fragment of the Grundgesetze which defines (...) a model of all the axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with the exception of the power set axiom. The proof of this result appeals to G\"odel's constructible universe of sets, which G\"odel famously used to show the relative consistency of the continuum hypothesis. More specifically, our proofs appeal to Kripke and Platek's idea of the projectum within the constructible universe as well as to a weak version of uniformization (which does not involve knowledge of Jensen's fine structure theory). The axioms of the Grundgesetze are examples of abstraction principles, and the other primary aim of this paper is to articulate a sufficient condition for the consistency of abstraction principles with limited amounts of comprehension. As an application, we resolve an analogue of the joint consistency problem in the predicative setting. (shrink)
This piece criticizes Fodor's argument (in The Elm and the Expert, 1994) for the claim that Frege cases should be treated as exceptions to (broad) psychological generalizations rather than as counterexamples.
It is well known that Frege's system in the Grundgesetze der Arithmetik is formally inconsistent. Frege's instantiation rule for the second-order universal quantifier makes his system, except for minor differences, full (i.e., with unrestricted comprehension) second-order logic, augmented by an abstraction operator that abides to Frege's basic law V. A few years ago, Richard Heck proved the consistency of the fragment of Frege's theory obtained by restricting the comprehension schema to predicative formulae. He further conjectured that (...) the more encompassing Δ₁¹-comprehension schema would already be inconsistent. In the present paper, we show that this is not the case. (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)
In this paper I suggest an answer to the question of what Frege means when he says that his logical system, the Begrijfsschrift, is like the language Leibniz sketched, a lingua characteristica, and not merely a logical calculus. According to the nineteenth century studies, Leibniz's lingua characteristica was supposed to be a language with which the truths of science and the constitution of its concepts could be accurately expressed. I argue that this is exactly what the Begriffsschrift is: it (...) is a language, since, unlike calculi, its sentential expressions express truths, and it is a characteristic language, since the meaning of its complex expressions depend only on the meanings of their constituents and on the way they are put together. In fact it is in itself already a science composed in accordance with the Classical Model of Science. What makes the Begrijfsschrift so special is that Frege is able to accomplish these goals with using only grammatical or syncategorematic terms and so has a medium with which he can try to show analyticity of the theorems of arithmetic. (shrink)
Frege is widely thought to believe that vague predicates have no referent (Bedeutung). But given other things he evidently believes, such a position would seem to commit him to a suspect nihilism according to which assertoric sentences containing vague predicates are neither true nor false. I argue that we have good reason to resist ascribing to Frege the view that vague predicates have no Bedeutung and thus good reason to resist seeing him as committed to the suspect nihilism. (...) In the process, I call attention to several under-appreciated texts in which Frege suggests that a vague predicate, though lacking a Bedeutung of its own, can come to acquire a Bedeutung in certain contexts. The upshot of this suggestion is that vague predicates can serve the purposes of ordinary communication quite well, even if they are useless for logical purposes. (shrink)
One of the most striking differences between Frege's Begriffsschrift (logical system) and standard contemporary systems of logic is the inclusion in the former of the judgement stroke: a symbol which marks those propositions which are being asserted , that is, which are being used to express judgements . There has been considerable controversy regarding both the exact purpose of the judgement stroke, and whether a system of logic should include such a symbol. This paper explains the intended role of (...) the judgement stroke in a way that renders it readily comprehensible why Frege insisted that this symbol was an essential part of his logical system. The key point here is that Frege viewed logic as the study of inference relations amongst acts of judgement , rather than – as in the typical contemporary view – of consequence relations amongst certain objects (propositions or well-formed formulae). The paper also explains why Frege's use of the judgement stroke is not in conflict with his avowed anti-psychologism, and why Wittgenstein's criticism of the judgement stroke as 'logically quite meaningless' is unfounded. The key point here is that while the judgement stroke has no content , its use in logic and mathematics is subject to a very stringent norm of assertion. (shrink)
The idea that thoughts are structured is essential to Frege's understanding of thoughts. A basic tenet of his thinking was that the structure of a sentence can serve as a model for the structure of a thought. Recent commentators have, however, identified tensions between that principle and certain other doctrines Frege held about thoughts. This paper suggests that the tensions identified by Dummett and Bell are not really tensions at all. In establishing the case against Dummett and Bell (...) the paper argues (a) that Frege was committed, in virtue of his doctrine of decomposition, to the thesis that a single sentence can express a range of thoughts, and (b) that Frege was committed, in virtue of his views about truth, to the thesis that a single thought can be expressed by structurally different sentences. But neither of these theses comes into conflict with the basic principle. (shrink)
According to Frege, judgement is the ‘logically primitive activity’. So what is judgement? In his mature work, he characterizes judging as ‘acknowledging the truth’ (‘Anerkennen der Wahrheit’). Frege’s remarks about judging as acknowledging the truth of a thought require further elaboration and development. I will argue that the development that best suits his argumentative purposes takes acknowledging the truth of a thought to be a non-propositional attitude like seeing an object; it is a mental relation between a thinker, (...) a thought, and an object, namely a truth-value. (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's puzzle 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's puzzle in the case of belief cannot be employed successfully in the case of perception. Ultimately, I maintain that this perceptual analogue of Frege's puzzle provides a compelling reason to reject the singular content view of perceptual experience. (shrink)
ABSTRACT. Fodor characterizes concepts as consisting of two dimensions: one is content, which is purely denotational/broad, the other the Mentalese vehicle bearing that content, which Fodor calls the Mode of Presentation (MOP), understood "syntactically." I argue that, so understood, concepts are not interpersonally sharable; so Fodor's own account violates what he calls the Publicity Constraint in his (1998) book. Furthermore, I argue that Fodor's non-semantic, or "syntactic," solution to Frege cases succumbs to the problem of providing interpersonally applicable functional (...) roles for MOPs. This is a serious problem because Fodor himself has argued extensively that if Fregean senses or meanings are understood as functional/conceptual roles, then they can't be public, since, according to Fodor, there are no interpersonally applicable functional roles in the relevant senses. I elaborate on these relevant senses in the paper. (shrink)