more from Gottlob Frege

Single Idea 18937

[catalogued under 5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / e. Empty names]

Full Idea

Frege's theory of 'sense' showed how sentences with empty names can have meaning and be understood. One just has to grasp the sense of the sentence (the thought expressed), and this is available even in the absence of a referent for the name.

Gist of Idea

If sentences have a 'sense', empty name sentences can be understood that way


report of Gottlob Frege (On Sense and Reference [1892]) by Sarah Sawyer - Empty Names 2

Book Reference

'Routledge Companion to Phil of Language', ed/tr. Russell/Graff Faria [Routledge 2015], p.154

A Reaction

My immediate reaction is that this provides a promising solution to the empty names problem, which certainly never bothered me before I started reading philosophy. Sawyer says co-reference and truth problems remain.

Related Ideas

Idea 13777 A name is a sort of tool [Plato]

Idea 18934 Sentences with empty names can be understood, be co-referential, and even be true [Sawyer]

Idea 18938 Frege's compositional account of truth-vaues makes 'Pegasus doesn't exist' neither true nor false [Sawyer]

Idea 18941 Names don't have a sense, but are disguised definite descriptions [Russell, by Sawyer]