Last updated: April 17, 2019
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Sense And Reference Essay, Research Paper

April Chlumsky

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Frege on Sense and Reference

Gottlob Frege developed the theory of sense and mention into a thorough doctrine of linguistic communication. He assigned logic the undertaking of detecting the Torahs of truth, non of averment or idea. The work? On Sense and Reference? has received a great trade of attending throughout the old ages. Indeed, the work? On Sense and Reference? by Frege, is one of his most read and most refuted plants.

In Frege? s best-known work? On Sense and Reference? ? two-thirds of the text is concerned with explicating how the differentiation between? sinn? and? bedeutung? ( sense and mention ) applies to sentences. After it has been argued that the mention of a sentence is a truth-value, the balance of the essay tries to demo how evident counter-examples to the claim can be accounted for. ? 1 Frege makes advancement in this philosophy by delegating ideas to a different semantic degree than that of truth-values. He besides shows that? the paradigm of mention seems to be the relation between a name and what it names. ? 1 After this he becomes occupied with his treatment of proper names ( the mention of the sentence ) and definite descriptions ( the sense of the sentence ) so moves on to the 2nd portion of his essay. Here he raises inquiries about declaratory sentences. These inquiries seem to be unrelated to his account of? sense and mention? up to this point. The remainder of the essay is his scrutiny of what sense and mention for sentences is.


In his ontology, Frege asserted the being of two particular objects, viz. , the truth-values? true? and? false? and defined constructs as a particular sort of map, viz. any map that connected objects to truth values. ? To Frege? a sentence stands for or designates a truth-value, it expresses a idea. The truth-value is the mention of the sentence ; the idea expressed is its sense. The truth-value fulfills one function of judgeable-content: it is the value of constructs ( maps ) . ? 2 Rules of asseverating, believing, judgment, and deducing follow from the Torahs of truth. The truth-value is tied to averments.

To Frege, ideas are what are judged, asserted, or entertained. They are either true or false and stand in contrast to thoughts. ? Ideas are existence- and identity-independent of a carrier ( mind ) . ? 2 Ideas are besides public and can be shared with others, and are besides held in world. The lone sentences that can show a complete idea are declaratory sentences. Yet Frege points out that non-declarative sentences can hold significance. For illustration? Aid! I am trapped? expresses an thought that has significance.

This moves us to what thoughts are. Ideas can non be seen or touched as they are private. They are that which helps us in our indication of sentences. Frege believes that thoughts ( sense ) are had. One has esthesiss, feelings, tempers, dispositions, and wants. An thought, which person has, belongs to the content of his consciousness. Ideas need a


carrier and every thought has merely one carrier. ? 3 Qualities are illustrations of thoughts. For illustration ruddy or acrimonious are thoughts.

The difference between ideas and thoughts is that ideas are of objects, which can be touched and seen. They are non merely inside of the head. He suggests that every word in a sentence has a name, but he recognizes that? names without content ( that do non? stand for anything? ) may however lend to the judgeable-content expressed. They have sense, but lack mention. ? 4 The ideas are what truth claims are made out of non thoughts. Besides, a idea can non be an thought harmonizing to Frege. For, you have to hold a thought in-order to hold linguistic communication. You can non hold linguistic communication with ideas entirely.

Sense is that which? distinguishes from tone or colourising? 4 in a sentence. Substituting? I? in-place-of? Mr. Jones? may impact the colouring of the sentence, but the idea will stay the same. The hearer will merely gestate a different mental image of what is being expressed. An illustration of this may be the followers:

Mr. Jones may express the statement, ? I went to the party? .

Mr. Smith says of Jones, ? Mr. Jones went to the party? .

A different sense is expressed when Mr. Jones tells people that he went to a party than if Mr. Smith tells others about Mr. Jones traveling to a party. When person hears? I went to the party? they automatically have an thought of what? I? is. However, if they hear? Mr.


Jones went to the party? they might hold an image of a adult male that lives in a bluish house on Bliss Street. The sense is hence different even-though the mention, Mr. Jones, remains the same.

? The sense of a proper name determines what the mention is, if there is one. The sense of, for illustration, ? the instructor of Alexander the Great? belongs to Aristotle, who is therefore the name? s mention, determined by the sense. ? 5

Michael Dummett, in his book Frege and Other Philosophers, proposes that? Frege should be understood as keeping that the mention of an look can be stated, but its sense can non. Rather, he suggests that we show what its sense is or is to be by the peculiar manner ( out of a figure of possible non-equivalent ways ) in which we say what its mention is or is non to be. ? 6 Yet Frege still gives importance to the mention. The? pronouncement? of sense merely being able to be shown, but non stated is of important importance. Frege? s account on his impression of sense is one that is unfastened to mystery. He introduces sense as that being attached to words or looks. It is something that is communicated through vocalizations.

The differentiation between sense and mention is that a mention picks out an object of some sort, while the sense is what allows us to understand the idea. Sense is the


sentence structure of the idea. We can non hold linguistic communication without the sense, B

ut we can hold linguistic communication without mention. Sense gives you a statement, while mention allows you to look into if it is true or false.

Frege suggested that names and descriptions express a sense in add-on to holding a indication. The sense of an look histories for its cognitive significance. This cognitive significance is the manner by which one can gestate of the indication of a term. The looks? 4? and? 2+2? have the same indication, ie the measure four, but express different senses. The former involves the belongings? add-on? . One of the more celebrated illustrations used to explicate this is Frege? s illustration of the? forenoon star? and? flushing star? . They both denote the same planet, viz. Venus, but they express different manners of showing the planet Venus and so they differ in sense. Frege can account for the difference in cognitive significance between individuality statements of the signifier? a = a? and? a = B? . The sense of the whole statement, in Frege? s position, is a map of the senses of its constituent parts. Since? a? differs from? B? in sense the constituents of? a = a? and? a = B? are different and so the sense of the whole look will be different in both instances. In this the sense of an look histories for its cognitive significance.

Frege asserts that when a name or a description follows a prepositional verb, it will no longer denote what it originally denoted. Alternatively in this context the term denotes its ordinary sense. Take for case the names? Mark Twain? and? Samuel Clemens? . They both denote different senses when they occur in the undermentioned sentences:

John believes that Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn.

John believes that Samuel Clemens wrote Huckleberry Finn.


Both sentences are speaking about the same individual so they have the same referent or indication, but they differ in sense. If they did non denote the same object, so there would be non ground to believe that replacing one name for another would continue the truth.

In Frege? s position, each word in the sentence? John loves Mary? is a name and the sentence as a whole is a complex name. Each name has both sense and indication. Frege breaks down this sentence in the undermentioned manner:

vitamin D [ J ] refers to the indication of the name? John? .

vitamin D [ m ] refers to the indication of the name? Mary? .

vitamin D [ L ] refers to the indication of the name? loves? .

s [ J ] refers to the sense of the name? John? .

s [ m ] refers to the sense of the name? Mary? .

s [ L ] refers to the sense of the name? loves? .

With this dislocation of the sentence Frege so moves on to working toward a theoretical description of the indication of the sentence as a whole. On Frege? s position, vitamin D [ J ] and vitamin D [ m ] are the existent persons John and Mary, severally. The map vitamin D [ L ] maps 500 [ m ] ( Mary ) to a map that serves as the indication of the predicate? loves Mary? . Let us mention to this map as vitamin D [ Lm ] . Now the map vitamin D [ Lm ] maps 500 [ J ] to the indication of the sentence? John loves Mary? . Let us mention to the indication of the sentence as vitamin D [ jLm ] . Frege identifies this indication as one of two truth-values. This makes a construct because vitamin D [ Lm ] maps the objects to truth-values. Thus vitamin D [ jLm ] is true if


the construct vitamin D [ Lm ] contains John ; otherwise the truth-value is false. So the sentence? John loves Mary? names a truth-value harmonizing to Frege.

Frege even goes further with the illustration of? John loves Mary? by stating it besides expresses a sense. Its sense is described as follows. First, the sense of the name? loves? is identified as a map. This map maps the sense of the name? Mary? to the sense

of the predicate? loves Mary? . Now the map of the sense of? loves Mary? maps the sense of the name? John? to the sense of the whole sentence. Frege calls this sense of the whole sentence idea. Even though there are merely two truth-values, there are an infinite figure of ideas.

Different linguistic communications besides play a portion in altering the sense of a sentence. ? The impressions of sense has to make with the talkers? apprehension of their linguistic communication, that is, with their appreciation of the significance. ? 7 Take for case the undermentioned Italian and English:

Esta frio. = It is cold.

Both mean the same thing, but for person who does non cognize Italian they will merely look at? Esta frio? and inquire what it means. It has the same mention, but different sense.

Take once more the sentence? 4 = 2+2? and? 4 = 4? both stand for the same thing, ? but they are non logically tantamount. They make different averments, require different cogent evidence, and their inter-substitution in a cogent evidence need non continue cogency of statement. Hence they are now said to show different ideas. ? 8 Now the antecedently labeled? judgeable content? , is called? a idea? , which is the sense of the sentence. Similarly,


? Mark Twain = Mark Twain? and? Mark Twain = Samuel Clemens? denote the same truth-value, but express different ideas even though the sense of the names differ. The full declaratory sentence? Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn? denotes it ordinary sense, which is its idea. The idea is an entity, which is distinguishable from the truth-value. This truth-value of the sentence is its mention.

Frege composing? On Sense and Reference? paved the route for Russell and Wittenstein to take another measure. One of the large holes in Frege? s system is that he wanted us to denote every name in order to acquire to if the statement is true or non. ? ? ( more )


Dummett, Michael. Frege and Other Philosophers. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1991.

Frege, Gottlob. The idea: A Logical Inquiry. Mind a Quarterly Reappraisal of

Psychology and Philosophy. 1956.

Klemke, E. D. Essays on Frege. University of Illinois Press. 1968.

Sluga, Hans. Gottlob Frege. Routledge & A ; Kegan Paul. 1980.