John Perry, "The most read passage from Frege" (Seminar)
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Seminar on Language and Communication
Institute for Logic, Cognition, Language an Information (ILCLI) UPV-EHU
Speaker: John Perry (Stanford, California).
Venue: Carlos Santamaria Zentroa, Classroom 2
Frege's "On Sense and Reference" has been required reading in analytical philosophy of language courses since before World War II, and this practice continues into the present century. If we assume that most students make it through the first paragraph, it must be the most read passage from Frege.
But the paragraph is a mess. He starts by discussing the difference between "A=A" and "A=B", the problem he treated years earlier in the Begriffsschrift. He purports to criticize his Begriffsshrift solution, but he states it inaccurately and unfairly. He goes on to say the problem he discussed in the Begriffschrift really isn't a problem, but it is hard to understand why. What is going on?
I will argue that Frege is in the coils of the Error of Misplaced Information. (Jon Barwise and I called this a fallacy, but I don't want to accuse Frege of a fallacy.) If he avoids it he can solve all of his identity problems without adding the notorious section 8 to that work, and can add levels of sense and reference to his Begriffsschrift theory rather than starting over.
(Attendance is free, but it should be notified in advance to email@example.com)