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Fil1004, Høsten 06 STUDY QUESTIONS FOR FREGE: ’ON SENSE AND NOMINATUM’ Concentrate on the first 5 pages of Frege’s paper. (Up until the paragraph beginning ‘We shall now further examine the conjecture….) The first paragraph of ‘On Sense and Nominatum’ has had an enormous importance in the history of twentieth-century philosophy. It presents what has come to be known as ‘Frege’s Puzzle about Identity’. Frege’s puzzle concerns how statements of the form ‘a=b’ can convey anything different from ‘a=a’. The former can be informative, and ‘contain valuable extensions of our knowledge’ whereas the latter can not. What treatment of identity statements will explain the difference? Frege begins by distinguishing two views of identity. On the first, identity is a relation between objects, on the second, a relation between names (or signs) of objects. Questions for the first three paragraphs: 1. What reasons does Frege see as seeming to count against treating identity as a relation between objects and favouring a treatment of it as a relation between signs? 2. Why does the view of identity as a relation between signs fare no better than the view of it as a relation between objects? 3. Do you agree with Frege that a statement of the form ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’ conveys ‘genuine knowledge’ which is not conveyed by saying that the names or signs ‘Hesperus’ and ‘Phoshorus’ refer to the same thing (‘name the same thing’ is the expression Frege uses)? For the section beginning with paragraph 4 and ending at the top of p. 202 (‘We let a sign express its sense and designate its nominatum.’): 4. How does Frege tell us to think about sense? (In terms of its relations to, and differences from, other phenomena, etc.) 5. What does Frege say about the cases where ‘one wishes to speak about the words themselves or about their senses’? 6. Does Frege think that there are any other dimensions of significance (or aspects of meaning) apart from ‘sense’ and ‘nominatum’? For section p. 202, beginning ‘Thus far….’ and ending p.203 ‘If our conjecture…. 7. Here Frege enquires into ‘the sense and the nominatum of a whole declarative sentence. Give a summary of the main lines of Frege’s reasoning.
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