Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (1-2):1-37 (2017)

Walter Pedriali
University of St. Andrews
Frege seems committed to the thesis that the senses of the fundamental notions of arithmetic remain stable and are stably grasped by thinkers throughout history. Fully competent practitioners grasp those senses clearly and distinctly, while uncertain practitioners see them, the very same senses, “as if through a mist”. There is thus a common object of the understanding apprehended to a greater or lesser degree by thinkers of diverging conceptual competence. Frege takes the thesis to be a condition for the possibility of the rational intelligibility of mathematical practice. I argue however that the idea that senses could be grasped as a matter of degree is in tension with the constitutive theses that Frege held with regard to sense. Given those theses, there can in fact be no such thing as misty grasp of sense, since any uncertainty as to the logical features of a given sense will entail that one is getting hold of a different sense or of no sense at all. I consider various ways of resolving the tension and conclude that Frege’s thesis cannot be defended if we take it to be a thesis about our competence with concepts. This leaves unresolved what I call the problem of normative guidance, that is, the problem of explaining how the fundamental notions of logic and arithmetic can provide inferential guidance to thinkers.
Keywords Frege   logicism   normativity   sense  incomplete understanding
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
Replies to Ichikawa, Martin and Weinberg.Timothy Williamson - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):465-476.
Knowing the Intuition and Knowing the Counterfactual.Jonathan Ichikawa - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):435 - 443.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Logical Significance of Assertion: Frege on the Essence of Logic.Walter B. Pedriali - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (8).

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