Download Frege on Definitions: A Case Study of Semantic Content by John Horty PDF

By John Horty

During this brief monograph, John Horty explores the problems awarded for Gottlob Frege's semantic conception, in addition to its smooth descendents, via the therapy of outlined expressions. The ebook starts off by means of targeting the mental constraints governing Frege's proposal of feel, or that means, and argues that, given those constraints, even the remedy of easy stipulative definitions led Frege to big problems. Horty is ready to recommend methods out of those problems which are either philosophically and logically believable and Fregean in spirit. This dialogue is then hooked up to a couple of extra ordinary subject matters, comparable to indexicality and the dialogue of options in fresh theories of brain and language. within the latter a part of the booklet, after introducing an easy semantic version of senses as techniques, Horty considers the issues that definitions current for Frege's concept that the experience of an expression should still reflect its grammatical constitution. The requirement will be chuffed, he argues, provided that outlined expressions--and incomplete expressions as well--are assigned senses in their personal, instead of handled contextually. He then explores a technique within which those senses should be reified in the procedural version, drawing on principles from paintings within the semantics of desktop programming languages. With its mixture of technical semantics and heritage of philosophy, Horty's ebook tackles many of the toughest questions within the philosophy of language. it may curiosity philosophers, logicians, and linguists.

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Extra resources for Frege on Definitions: A Case Study of Semantic Content

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It is not really significant, therefore, that Frege recognized distinct expressions of natural languages as carrying the same sense; this may have been merely one of their many deficiencies. The important question is whether he could have allowed that the same phenomenon might occur also in an ideal formal language, such as his own Begriffsschrift. And here, as it turns out, the matter is more complicated. There are, to begin with, conclusive reasons for thinking that Frege could not possibly have allowed expressions of different syntactic structure to share the same sense; and there are also powerful, though not quite conclusive, reasons for thinking that he would not have allowed any distinct expressions to share the same sense, even if they happened to agree in syntactic structure.

He explains, for example, how to form the concept homo as the product of the already existing concepts rationale and animal (p. 33). He illustrates the familiar way in which, if these two already-existing concepts are represented by regions in a plane, the new concept can be represented by their intersection. And then, alluding to the illustration, he describes the sterility of these Boolean techniques for the formation of new concepts: In this sort of concept formation, one must assume as given a system of concepts, or speaking metaphorically, a network of lines.

And it is in part his view of definitions that enables him both to see a connection between his characterization of analyticity and Kant's, but also to break the connection Kant sees between the analytic and the uninformative truths. For Frege, the truths of arithmetic are analytic because they can be discovered through conceptual analysis alone; but his more sophisticated definitional techniques allow us to construct concepts complex enough that their analysis is genuinely informative, extending our knowledge.

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