The Sense of Reference: Intentionality in Frege

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Husserl Logical Investigations

It could quite well be that the hidden faculty to which Descartes alludes is the aspect of the body, particularly the imagination, involved in furnishing men with their ideas of the extended world. This aspect of human nature would be cognitively hidden because Descartes lacks sufficient evidence to justify believing in the existence of bodies. This conjecture is supported, I believe, by Descartes' discussion in the opening paragraphs of Meditation VI of imagination's role in man's perception of the independently existing world.

Especially important is Descartes' suggestion that mind is formally involved in the concept of the imagination, though the converse is not true.

Katalin Farkas

In alluding to imagination under the guise of a hidden faculty, Descartes might be looking backward to his conclusions concerning mind and body in Meditation II and forward to his full theory of perception in Meditation VI. TED B. I do not want to raise any questions concerning the appropriateness of such comparisons. But I do want to question what appears to be their intended moral.

Reference, Experience, and Intentionality

Two recent commentators on Hussefl's theory of meaning conclude their discussion with the following observation: "To see phenomenology as a theory of intentionality via intensions is, in the final analysis, just to make sense of phenomenology. And that is just to give Frege the credit for lending Sense to Husserl. I should like to point out, first of all, that Husserl's view concerning such distinctions appears to have changed in a significant way between the period of the Logical Investigations and that of the ldeas; and, second, that while the change in Husserl's approach was in fact toward a more Fregean position, it was, just on that account, a change for the worse.

Though from the point of view of semantic theory alone the development of Hussed's position may have been inconsequential, the ontological issues which it raises are considerable.

Both the "earlier" and the "later" Husserl present a distinction which does indeed perform the function of Frege's distinction between Sense and reference. But no such distinctions can be finally accepted apart from some theory as Access options available:.


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  • Reference and Sense.

Even philosophers who are sympathetic to internalism believe that a full account of intentionality or representation requires two kinds of intentionality: phenomenal and externalistic; or two kinds of content: narrow and broad. It is argued that the source of this conviction is an unnecessarily restrictive interpretation of the doctrine — going back to Frege — that sense should determine reference.

On the restricted interpretation, sense alone determines reference, but very few philosophers agree with this today.


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  6. Once we understand the doctrine more liberally, requiring only that sense determines reference relative to some external factors, we make room for a single notion of completely internal content. Once the doctrine that sense determines reference is understood properly, the Twin Earth argument turns out to be inconclusive, and the need to posit an externally individuated content disappers.

    The Sense of Reference: Intentionality in Frege

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