Richard G. Heck presents a new account of Gottlob Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, or Basic Laws of Arithmetic, which establishes it as a neglected masterpiece at the center of Frege's philosophy. He explores Frege's philosophy of logic, and argues that Frege knew that his proofs could be reconstructed so as to avoid Russell's Paradox.
The 'substitution argument' purports to demonstrate the falsity of Russellian accounts of belief-ascription by observing that, e.g., these two sentences: -/- (LC) Lois believes that Clark can fly. (LS) Lois believes that Superman can fly. -/- could have different truth-values. But what is the basis for that claim? It seems widely to be supposed, especially by Russellians, that it is simply an 'intuition', one that could then be 'explained away'. And this supposition plays an especially important role in Jennifer Saul's (...) defense of Russellianism, based upon the existence of an allegedly similar contrast between these two sentences: -/- (PC) Superman is more popular than Clark. (PS) Superman is more popular than Superman. -/- The latter contrast looks pragmatic. But then, Saul asks, why shouldn't we then say the same about the former? -/- The answer to this question is that the two cases simply are not similar. In the case of (PC) and (PS), we have only the facts that these strike us differently, and that people will sometimes say things like (PC), whereas they will never say things like (PS). By contrast, there is an argument to be given that (LS) can be true even if (LC) is false, and this argument does not appeal to anyone's 'intuitions'. -/- The main goal of the paper is to present such a version of the substitution argument, building upon the treatment of the Fregan argument against Russellian accounts of belief itself in "Solving Frege's Puzzle". A subsidiary goal is to contribute to the growing literature arguing that 'intuitions' simply do not play the sort of role in philosophical inquiry that so-called 'experimental philosophers' have supposed they do. (shrink)
Maybe the most important argument in David Chalmers’s monumental book Constructing the World is the one he calls the ‘Frontloading Argument’, which is used in Chapter 4 to argue for the book’s central thesis, A Priori Scrutability. And, at first blush, the Frontloading Argument looks very strong. I argue here, however, that it is incapable of securing the conclusion it is meant to establish.
Some years ago, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich reported the results of experiments that reveal, they claim, cross-cultural differences in speaker’s ‘intuitions’ about Kripke’s famous Gödel–Schmidt case. Several authors have suggested, however, that the question they asked their subjects is ambiguous between speaker’s reference and semantic reference. Machery and colleagues have since made a number of replies. It is argued here that these are ineffective. The larger lesson, however, concerns the role that first-order philosophy should, and more importantly should not, (...) play in the design of such experiments and in the evaluation of their results. (shrink)
The primary purpose of this note is to demonstrate that predicative Frege arithmetic naturally interprets certain weak but non-trivial arithmetical theories. It will take almost as long to explain what this means and why it matters as it will to prove the results.
This paper contains a close analysis of Frege's proofs of the axioms of arithmetic §§70-83 of Die Grundlagen, with special attention to the proof of the existence of successors in §§82-83. Reluctantly and hesitantly, we come to the conclusion that Frege was at least somewhat confused in those two sections and that he cannot be said to have outlined, or even to have intended, any correct proof there. The proof he sketches is in many ways similar to that given in (...) Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, but fidelity to what Frege wrote in Die Grundlagen and in Grundgesetze requires us to reject the charitable suggestion that it was this (beautiful) proof that he had in mind in §§82-83. (shrink)
This paper attempts to address the question what logical strength theories of truth have by considering such questions as: If you take a theory T and add a theory of truth to it, how strong is the resulting theory, as compared to T? Once the question has been properly formulated, the answer turns out to be about as elegant as one could want: Adding a theory of truth to a finitely axiomatized theory T is more or less equivalent to a (...) kind of abstract consistency statement. A large part of the interest of the paper lies in the way syntactic theories are 'disentangled' from object theories. (shrink)
In his paper “Flaws of Formal Relationism”, Mahrad Almotahari argues against the sort of response to Frege's Puzzle I have defended elsewhere, which he dubs ‘Formal Relationism’. Almotahari argues that, because of its specifically formal character, this view is vulnerable to objections that cannot be raised against the otherwise similar Semantic Relationism due to Kit Fine. I argue in response that Formal Relationism has neither of the flaws Almotahari claims to identify.
Why should one think Frege's definition of the ancestral correct? It can be proven to be extensionally correct, but the argument uses arithmetical induction, and that seems to undermine Frege's claim to have justified induction in purely logical terms. I discuss such circularity objections and then offer a new definition of the ancestral intended to be intensionally correct; its extensional correctness then follows without proof. This new definition can be proven equivalent to Frege's without any use of arithmetical induction. This (...) proves, without any use of arithmetical induction, that Frege's definition is extensionally correct and so answers the circularity objections. (shrink)
A discussion of Crispin Wright's 'paradox of higher-order vagueness', I suggest that the paradox may be resolved by careful attention to the logical principles used in its formulation. In particular, I focus attention on the rule of inference that allows for the inference from A to 'Definitely A', and argue that this rule, though valid, may not be used in subordinate deductions, e.g., in the course of a conditional proof. Wright's paradox uses the rule (or its equivalent) in this way.
Frege held that referring expressions in general, and demonstratives and indexicals in particular, contribute more than just their reference to what is expressed by utterances of sentences containing them. Heck first attempts to get clear about what the essence of the Fregean view is, arguing that it rests upon a certain conception of linguistic communication that is ultimately indefensible. On the other hand, however, he argues that understanding a demonstrative (or indexical) utterance requires one to think of the object (...) denoted in an appropriate way. This fact makes it difficult to reconcile the view that referring expressions are "directly referential" with any view that seeks (as Grice's does) to ground meaning in facts about communication. (shrink)
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.
In Mind and World, John McDowell argues against the view that perceptual representation is non-conceptual. The central worry is that this view cannot offer any reasonable account of how perception bears rationally upon belief. I argue that this worry, though sensible, can be met, if we are clear that perceptual representation is, though non-conceptual, still in some sense 'assertoric': Perception, like belief, represents things as being thus and so.
In an earlier paper, "Non-conceptual Content and the 'Space of Reasons'", I distinguished two forms of the view that perceptual content is non-conceptual, which I called the 'state view' and the 'content view'. On the latter, but not the former, perceptual states have a different kind of content than do cognitive states. Many have found it puzzling why anyone would want to make this claim and, indeed, what it might mean. This paper attempts to address these questions.
Gareth Evans has argued that the existence of vague objects is logically precluded: The assumption that it is indeterminate whether some object a is identical to some object b leads to contradiction. I argue in reply that, although this is true—I thus defend Evans's argument, as he presents it—the existence of vague objects is not thereby precluded. An 'Indefinitist' need only hold that it is not logically required that every identity statement must have a determinate truth-value, not that some such (...) statements might actually fail to have a determinate truth-value. That makes Indefinitism a cousin of mathematical Intuitionism. (shrink)
Are Fregean thoughts compositionally complex and composed of senses? We argue that, in Begriffsschrift, Frege took 'conceptual contents' to be unstructured, but that he quickly moved away from this position, holding just two years later that conceptual contents divide of themselves into 'function' and 'argument'. This second position is shown to be unstable, however, by Frege's famous substitution puzzle. For Frege, the crucial question the puzzle raises is why "The Morning Star is a planet" and "The Evening Star is a (...) planet" have different contents, but his second position predicts that they should have the same content. Frege's response to this antinomy is of course to distinguish sense from reference, but what has not previously been noticed is that this response also requires thoughts to be compositionally complex, composed of senses. That, however, raises the question just how thoughts are composed from senses. We reconstruct a Fregean answer, one that turns on an insistence that this question must be understood as semantic rather than metaphysical. It is not a question about the intrinsic nature of residents of the third realm but a question about how thoughts are expressed by sentences. (shrink)
As is well-known, the formal system in which Frege works in his Grundgesetze der Arithmetik is formally inconsistent, Russell?s Paradox being derivable in it.This system is, except for minor differences, full second-order logic, augmented by a single non-logical axiom, Frege?s Axiom V. It has been known for some time now that the first-order fragment of the theory is consistent. The present paper establishes that both the simple and the ramified predicative second-order fragments are consistent, and that Robinson arithmetic, Q, is (...) relatively interpretable in the simple predicative fragment. The philosophical significance of the result is discussed. (shrink)
This paper argues that that Caesar problem had a technical aspect, namely, that it threatened to make it impossible to prove, in the way Frege wanted, that there are infinitely many numbers. It then offers a solution to the problem, one that shows Frege did not really need the claim that "numbers are objects", not if that claim is intended in a form that forces the Caesar problem upon us.
I here investigate the sense in which diagonalization allows one to construct sentences that are self-referential. Truly self-referential sentences cannot be constructed in the standard language of arithmetic: There is a simple theory of truth that is intuitively inconsistent but is consistent with Peano arithmetic, as standardly formulated. True self-reference is possible only if we expand the language to include function-symbols for all primitive recursive functions. This language is therefore the natural setting for investigations of self-reference.
It has been known for a few years that no more than Pi-1-1 comprehension is needed for the proof of "Frege's Theorem". One can at least imagine a view that would regard Pi-1-1 comprehension axioms as logical truths but deny that status to any that are more complex—a view that would, in particular, deny that full second-order logic deserves the name. Such a view would serve the purposes of neo-logicists. It is, in fact, no part of my view that, say, (...) Delta-3-1 comprehension axioms are not logical truths. What I am going to suggest, however, is that there is a special case to be made on behalf of Pi-1-1 comprehension. Making the case involves investigating extensions of first-order logic that do not rely upon the presence of second-order quantifiers. A formal system for so-called "ancestral logic" is developed, and it is then extended to yield what I call "Arché logic". (shrink)
A brief, non-technical introduction to technical and philosophical aspects of Frege's philosophy of arithmetic. The exposition focuses on Frege's Theorem, which states that the axioms of arithmetic are provable, in second-order logic, from a single non-logical axiom, "Hume's Principle", which itself is: The number of Fs is the same as the number of Gs if, and only if, the Fs and Gs are in one-one correspondence.