Fregean Senses, Modes of Presentation, and Concepts


Edward N. Zalta


Philosophical Perspectives, 15 (2001): 335-359


Many philosophers, including direct reference theorists, appeal to naively to `modes of presentation' in the analysis of belief reports. I show that a variety of such appeals can be analyzed in terms of a precise theory of modes of presentation. The objects that serve as modes are identified intrinsically, in a noncircular way, and it is shown that they can function in the required way. It is a consequence of the intrinsic characterization that some objects are well-suited to serve as modes that present individuals and while others are well-suited to serve as modes that present properties (though such modes do not `determine' the objects they present---there is no necessary connection between a mode m and the individual x or property F that it presents). Moreover, it is also a consequence that the modes for properties and individuals can be organized into complexes that are structurally identical to Russellian propositions having the represented properties and individuals as constituents. Not only is the relationship between modes and Fregean senses and modes of presentation explored in the paper, but also the idea that the theory of modes of presentation developed in the paper can serve as a theory of concepts.

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