Are hybrid proper names the solution to the completion problem? A reply to Wolfgang Kunne.
The wider significance of examining Kunne's way of posing the problem resides in the fact that other philosophers too - for example Perry (1977) - agree with Kunne that a Fregean account of the first-person pronoun, if one is available, would have to be a Fregean solution to the problem as Kunne formulates it. Kunne offers precisely such a solution, and so claims that a Fregean account of the first-person pronoun is available, while Perry, of course, denies the possibility of such a solution and so draws the opposite conclusion to Kunne on the first-person pronoun. I argue, by contrast, that though Kunne's proposed Fregean solution does not work, Peny's conclusion can be avoided, since the terms in which the problem is formulated by Kunne obscure the availability of an alternative and more straightforward Fregean account of "I".(3)
Kunne sets out the problem in the following way. He notes that
[a]ccording to Frege's compositional view of thoughts the sense of the
proper name "2" and the sense of the concept-expression ... "( ) is a
prime number" combine to form the thought that 2 is a prime number.
The sentence "2 is a prime number" is a complete expression of that
thought. (Kunne 1992, p. 723)
But when we try to apply this model to "indexical thought-expressions" (1992, p. 723), we run into trouble. Assume that, if by uttering the words "I am cold" on a given occasion a speaker expresses a Fregean thought at all, then that thought is a thought about a particular object and not, for example, a general thought. In that case, on the Fregean view, the speaker must have employed a proper name whose sense completes the sense of the predicate "[zeta] is cold".(4) So what is this proper name? A necessary condition of the identity of Fregean thoughts is identity of truth-value. But, when Paul and Mary each utter the sentence "I am cold", the thoughts they express may differ in truth-value. As the predicate employed by the speakers is apparently the same in each case, the subject term must be responsible for the difference: a different proper name must have been employed by Paul from the one employed by Mary. The grammatical subject of the sentence Paul uses to express his thought is, however, the same as the grammatical subject of the sentence used by Mary to express hers. And it is not merely that these words accidentally sound the same: "the first word of their respective utterances has the same linguistic meaning" (1992, pp. 723-4). As we have sameness of linguistic meaning in the presence of a variation in reference, linguistic meaning, at least in the case of "I", cannot be identified with Fregean sense;(5) and the item which has that constant linguistic meaning cannot be identified with the possessor of a Fregean sense. So at least one candidate for the proper name in a given speaker's utterance of "I am cold" can be ruled out: "the proper name in Paul's utterance [of "I am cold"] ... is ... not the indicator |I'" (1992, p. 724).(6) In an earlier paper (Kunne 1982), Kunne usefully labelled this problem of hunt-the-proper-name the "completion problem".(7)
Kunne bases his proposed solution to it on some well-known passages in Frege's "Thoughts" (Frege 1984b). Two of these are worth repeating here. The first is this:
[O]ften ... the mere wording, which can be made permanent by writing
or the gramophone, does not suffice for the expression of the thought ...
If a time-indication is conveyed by the use of the present tense one must
know when the sentence was uttered in order to grasp the thought correctly.
Therefore the time of utterance is part of the expression of the
thought. And the second this:
In all such cases the mere wording, as it can be preserved in writing, is
not the complete expression of the thought; the knowledge of certain circumstances
accompanying the utterance, which are used as means of expressing
the thought, is needed for us to grasp the thought correctly.(8) Kunne claims that these remarks deserve to be taken "far more literally than is usually done" (1992, p. 722), and that if we do so, we arrive at his own theory of "hybrid proper names".
His proposal is this:
In an utterance of ["I have bloodtype A"] the proper name consists not
only of a token of the indicator "I" but also of the speaker. It is the sense
of this proper name which combines with the sense of the predicate in
["I have bloodtype A"] to yield the thought expressed by [the speaker].
This proper name is, according to Kunne, a "hybrid". Though it is a fully paid-up linguistic expression - it has a sense which determines a unique object as its reference - it is unusual in that it is made up of components from both inside and outside the Wortsprache (word-language) (1992, p. 730), namely an occurrence of the word "I" plus the person who utters it.(9) What refers to (bedeutet) the speaker is not the indicator |I' but a hybrid proper name which contains an occurrence of this indicator" (1992, p. 724).
Two features of this hybrid proper name (and others like it) are worthy of note. The first is that the name is semantically structured. It must be so, for if the word "I" did not make a constant contribution to the sense of each name of which it is a part, the fact that once we can understand one such name we are equipped to understand any one would be a miracle.(10)
The second is that, because the name has a Fregean sense which determines an object - the speaker - as its reference, the reference of the name is a part of the name. Kunne uses a comparison with Reichenbach's token-quotes to introduce this idea. In the sentence
(1) "[epsilon]" is a Greek letter
Kunne argues that the subject term, which consists of a pair of token-quotes plus a token letter between them, is a proper name whose reference is that token letter itself. In addition to this, Kunne tells us that the token-quotes function in a similar way to a demonstrative, so sentence (1) is equivalent to the following:
(2) |[epsilon]' [arrow left] This is a Greek letter.
Correspondingly, a token of "I", as it occurs in a hybrid proper name, draws attention to the utterer of the token in just the way in which the token-quotes draw attention to the token letter placed between them. The only difference is that this function is discharged by the linguistic meaning of "I" or the conventional meaning of token-quotes rather than by an arrow or ostensive gesture.
This concludes my exposition of the completion problem and of Kunne's proposed solution to it, in the course of which I have tried to remain faithful to Kunne's way of presenting things. I now turn to criticism.
There is no reason in principle, as far as I can see, why the limits of "the language" need be taken to coincide with the limits of the Wortsprache - that they do not is an idea familiar from Wittgenstein.(11) So the mere oddity or unfamiliarity of the notion of hybrid proper names is not the ground of my objection to it.
I have three objections to Kunne's proposal. The first is that the notion of hybrid proper names is theoretically redundant: roughly speaking, on Kunne's view the job of determining an object as the reference of an expression gets done twice over. The second is that it is the wrong conclusion from Kunne's premisses. It only looks as if hybrid proper names are needed to solve the completion problem because of the misleading way in which Kunne formulates it. Finally, and somewhat incidentally, Kanne's proposal does not seem to be forced upon us by Frege's texts. Though it is not my main concern to interpret the letter of Frege correctly, my proposal may offer a no less literal reading than Kunne's of the passages from "Thoughts" which I quoted above.
To see the point of the first objection, we need to be more precise about the role played by the word "I" when it is part of a hybrid proper name, the role which I described with deliberate vagueness in the previous section as "drawing attention to".
Kunne draws a superficially surprising distinction between a proper name and a singular term. He defines a singular term as a "sentence-forming operator on predicates", or an expression n occurrences of which, when coupled with an n-place predicate, form a sentence (1992, p. 723 n. 5). The term "sentence" here is presumably being used as a term for a type individuated in terms of linguistic meaning, rather than graphically or phonemically.) By contrast he defines a proper name, as we have seen, as an expression with a sense apt to complete the sense of a predicate so as to form an (atomic) Fregean thought. For reasons stated, Kunne holds that the proper name employed in a given speaker's utterance of "I am cold" is not "the indicator |I'"; but, he writes, "I do not hesitate, pace Anscombe, to classify |I' as a singular term". It would seem therefore that Kunne would describe his position (or the negative part of it) as the claim that "I" is a singular term but not a proper name.(12) Kunne's terminology is unfamiliar, but his distinction between singular term and proper name simply records his refusal (noted above) to identify the word "I" in Paul's utterance with the possessor of a Fregean sense.
Granted the distinction between singular term and proper name, the relation of "drawing attention to" cannot be reference (Bedeutung) for, on the Fregean theory Kunne is defending, only a proper name can refer to an object and we have been told that the word "I" is not a proper name. The relation which holds between a token of "I" and its utterer is rather that of denotation, a relation which, unlike reference, may hold between a word and a thing even if the word does not have a Fregean sense. As Kunne explains, "denotation even in the case of singular terms is not to be equated with Fregean reference (Bedeutung)" (1992, p. 723 n. 5). It follows from Kunne's definition of "singular term" that "I" stands for a function from certain features of context of utterance to objects. So the denotation of a given token of "I" is the value of the function (i.e. the speaker) in the given context of utterance (i.e. being uttered by him). It is this functional expression which makes a constant contribution to the senses of the hybrid proper names in which it occurs - and, what is more, presumably makes this contribution in virtue of its sense: it is just that this sense is not of the reference-determining kind.(13)
We now have it, then, that (i) the proper name employed when a Fregean thought is expressed by Paul's utterance of "I am cold" is a hybrid which consists of a token of "I" plus Paul himself-, (ii) the whole of that proper name refers to part of itself, viz. Paul; and (iii) part of the proper name (the token of "I") denotes the other part - Paul again.
It seems, then, that on Kunne's view there are as it were two distinct paths for the understanding to follow: first, knowledge of the meaning of "I" plus knowledge of the relevant features of the context of utterance (the path which leads to the denotation of Paul's token of "I"), and secondly, grasp of the sense of the hybrid proper name (the path which leads to the reference of the name). And while, according to Kunne, knowledge of the meaning of "I" plus knowledge of context is necessary in order to be in a position to identify an object as the reference of the hybrid name, it is not sufficient. It is necessary because a component of the hybrid name is the denotation of Paul's token of "I" (Paul himself), so until one knows the denotation of Paul's token of "I" one cannot even identify the hybrid proper name Paul employs, let alone grasp its sense. But it is not sufficient, since to claim that it was would be inconsistent with Kunne's refusal to identify the proper name Paul employs with his token of "I".
However, in order to be in a position to determine the truth-value of Paul's utterance it is not in fact necessary to grasp the sense of the hybrid proper name he putatively employs: knowledge of the meaning of "I" plus knowledge of context are enough on their own for this, as long as the predicate is also understood. There is nothing for grasp of the sense of a hybrid proper name to do that is not already done by knowledge of the meaning of "I" plus knowledge of context, so it seems that the second "path for the understanding", and so hybrid proper names themselves, are theoretically redundant.
Supposing this conclusion is correct, there are two ways in which it may be interpreted. On the first interpretation, the mechanism of denotation suffices on its own to determine truth-value, and the mechanism of reference is altogether inoperative: the reason that grasp of the sense of a hybrid proper name is not necessary in order to be in a position to determine the truth-value of Paul's utterance is that it is possible to be in such a position without having grasped the sense of any proper name, contrary to Fregean theory.
The Fregean must accordingly prefer the second interpretation, namely that if one is in a position to determine the truth-value of Paul's utterance, one must have grasped the sense of some proper name. But if - as I think has been shown - one can be in such a position knowing only the meaning of "I" and the relevant features of the context of utterance, then knowledge of that and grasp of the sense of the proper name Paul employed cannot be distinct pieces of knowledge. Grasp of the sense of the name Paul employs must be knowledge of the meaning of "I" plus knowledge of the relevant features of the context: the path to the reference of that name and the path to the denotation of Paul's token of I" must be one and the same.
More now needs to be said in order to show how this can be so.
The task now is to show that the notion of hybrid proper names is not the last hope for a Fregean account of the first-person pronoun (and so of indexicals generally). And I think we can show this, by showing that the notion only appears to be called for thanks to the - misleading way in which Kunne presents the apparent obstacles to such an account. If these apparent obstacles are presented clearly, a simpler way for the Fregean to surmount them should come into view.
The solution I propose to the completion problem relies on two suggestions of Dummett's about Frege.(14) Dummett regards them as consistent with Frege's main insights - discarding the inessential to preserve what is essential. I am going to assume that he is right about this. If he is not, and the parts of Frege which Dummett wishes to discard are in fact indispensable to any position that deserves to be thought of as Fregean, that would in my view make Fregean theory - and so of course the possibility of a Fregean account of indexicals - rather less interesting. But, apart from some brief remarks later on, I want to set exegetical issues aside. What matters now is first, that Dummett's suggestions make the Fregean position seem reasonably plausible and, secondly, that they enable us to state the completion problem in a way that at once should be acceptable to Kunne and free of the ambiguities of his own formulation of it.
The first suggestion is that we should drop the idea - prominent in Frege - that thoughts (and the senses that compose them) are self-subsistent objects. Instead we should regard thoughts expressed as "features" of particular utterances (Dummett 1986, pp. 260-61).(15) The second is that the primary bearers of truth and falsity are not, as Frege actually says, thoughts themselves, but rather utterances (1986, p. 255).
The first suggestion makes the notion of an utterance's expressing a thought prior to that of a thought itself. Dummett urges us to compare the notion of expressing a thought to that of humming a tune: in both cases, we attribute a property to a performance, namely the property of being of a certain type. What it is for an utterance to express a thought is for it - a particular, dated performance - to have the property of belonging to a given thought-expression type, or TE-type for short.(16) The same point can then be made for parts of utterances, or utterance-fragments, and their senses: what it is for an utterance-fragment to express a sense is for that fragment to have a certain property, viz., membership of some sense-expression type (SE-type). Of course the two suggestions are hardly independent. If the primary bearers of truth-value (reference) are utterances, then, in order to preserve the Fregean thesis that sense determines reference, we have no choice but to treat the expression of thought as a property of utterances too. Familiar Fregean theses can then be restated in terms of the determination of some properties of utterances by others: the TE-type to which an utterance belongs is determined by the SE-type membership of its constituent utterance-fragments; and the truth-value of an utterance is determined by the TE-type to which it belongs.
If the above is admissible as an approach to Fregean sense, there is no reason why it should not be extended to other areas: utterances and utterance-fragments have other interesting properties too. In particular, it can be used in order to develop the distinction between Fregean sense and linguistic meaning.(17) Thus, utterances and utterance-fragments may be described as members of what I shall call sentence- and word-types respectively, or S-types and W-types for short. (For simplicity's sake I shall stick to talking about whole utterances and S-types for the moment. Readers can fill in the picture for utterance-fragments and W-types for themselves.) How is linguistic meaning to be defined? One might appeal to speakers' abilities. Very roughly, there is no new linguistic knowledge a speaker requires in order to say "it's fine today" on two successive days; two speakers could, as a result of receiving the same linguistic instruction, come away equally well able to speak about themselves in the first person, and so on. So we can say that both members of each such pair of utterances belong to the same S-type.(18) Where the distinction between Fregean sense and linguistic meaning needs to be drawn, therefore, it amounts to a distinction between kinds of properties of utterances.
Once this way of looking at things is accepted, the Fregean must allow that Paul's utterance of "I am cold" - the token he produces on a given occasion - expresses a thought, that is, that there is some TE-type to which it belongs, whatever one wants to say about the (type-) word "I" or the (type-) sentence "I am cold".(19) And we can now recast Kunne's distinction between a proper name and a singular term as a distinction between properties of utterances, viz., membership of certain sorts of SE- and W-type respectively. This is just an application of the distinction between Fregean sense and linguistic meaning, expressed as the general distinction between SE- (or TE-) type membership and W- (or S-) type membership. The advantages of these moves will become apparent when we re-examine the route by which Kunne arrives at the need to postulate hybrid proper names.
Let us go back to Kunne's claim that "in Paul's utterance ... the proper name is not the indicator |I"' (1992, p. 724) - the negative conclusion which motivated the introduction of hybrid proper names.
This is a careless way of speaking, since it is not clear whether the claim is about an expression or about an occurrence of that expression.
If the claim is a claim about an expression - i.e. the proper name which Paul employs in the expression of his thought - then, given that Kunne also holds that the word "I" is a singular term (on his definition), the claim is simply an application of the distinction between proper name and singular term. As this follows from the need to distinguish Fregean sense from linguistic meaning for the indexical case, the claim is one which the Fregean must accept.
However, Kunne's candidate for what he calls "the proper name in Paul's utterance" is a concrete particular - the particular composed of Paul's utterance of "I" (a dated performance) and Paul too. So Kunne's claim must be understood as a claim not about the proper name which Paul employed in the expression of his thought, but about the occurrence of that name in Paul's utterance.
But now, if "the proper name in Paul's utterance" means "the occurrence in Paul's utterance of the proper name he employed", then it is obvious that it cannot be identified with the word "I". For the word "I" is an expression (a type), and expressions and occurrences of expressions are things of different ontological category. Kunne can therefore hardly have meant to make that obvious point. Kunne's negative conclusion should rather have been expressed as follows: the occurrence of the proper name that Paul employed in the expression of his thought is not identical with the token Paul produces of the word "I".
If this is right, then the completion problem needs to be reformulated. What it requires us to do - and what Kunne must be seen as offering to do - is to hunt down the occurrence of the proper name which Paul employed in the expression of his thought, that is, to identify a concrete (perhaps complex) particular. Moreover, Kunne's solution to the problem - that "the proper name" in Paul's utterance is composed of the token of "I" which Paul produces plus Paul himself(20) - cannot be what he states it to be, even if it is inescapable. For though the solution is expressed as a claim about a category of hybrid expressions, it is clear that the hybrids Kunne in fact has in mind are not expressions at all, but occurrences thereof.(21)
Kunne's solution, however, is not inescapable. His negative conclusion - that the occurrence of the proper name which Paul employed in the expression of his thought cannot be identified with the token Paul produces of the word "I" - is entirely unwarranted by the claim that the two expressions, the word "I" and the proper name (whatever it is) that Paul employed, are distinct. This can be seen when the distinction between proper name and singular term is expressed as a distinction between kinds of properties of utterances (and thus the distinction between a particular singular term and a particular proper name as a distinction between particular properties of utterances). For it obviously does not follow from the distinctness of two properties that one and the same individual may not instantiate both. The property of being a dog is not identical with the property of being a pet, but still, some dogs are pets. Similarly, Fregean principles obliged us to conclude that at least some properties of W- (and S-) type-membership are distinct from any properties of SE- (and TE-) type-membership. But acknowledging the distinctness of (at least some) such properties is quite consistent with allowing that one and the same individual utterance or utterance-fragment may instantiate both.
If Kunne's negative conclusion is unwarranted by Fregean principles, then so is Kunne's proposed solution to the completion problem, the introduction of proper names whose occurrences are hybrid in the sense noted. In fact, these Fregean principles are consistent with a far simpler solution to the problem. Fregean principles oblige us to deny that there is any one TE-type to which every utterance of the S-type "I am cold" belongs. But it is consistent with this to hold that every utterance of the S-type "I am cold" belongs to some TE-type or other, i.e. expresses a thought. And if Dummett's second suggestion is accepted, this is in fact so: the Fregean not only may, but must hold that Paul's utterance of "I am cold" (and so every other utterance of that S-type) expresses a thought.
There seems therefore to be no barrier to treating the constituents of Paul's utterance in the same way. So we can say that one and the same fragment of Paul's utterance - the fragment that rhymes with "dry" - is not only an occurrence of the word "I" but also an occurrence of the proper name (whatever it is) that Paul employed in the expression of his thought. And that utterance-fragment is not in any sense a hybrid, but belongs squarely to the Wortsprache.
Even if I am right that the notion of hybrid proper names is not forced on us by Fregean principles, the possibility remains open that Kunne's proposal - reformulated in the way I have suggested - is correct as a reading of the remarks quoted above from Frege's "Thoughts", and thus that Frege's view is unnecessarily complicated if Kunne's is. To avoid this conclusion, I now need to show that my alternative solution to the (reformulated) completion problem can also make sense of those remarks. It must be said that the phrases "the mere wording ... is not the complete expression of the thought" and "the time of utterance is part of the expression of the thought" do not, at first, look very encouraging.
I suggest that Frege spoke of the "wording, which can be made permanent by writing or the gramophone" in order to contrast forms of words with their particular uses. Imagine that various forms of words are written up on a blackboard, some containing indexical expressions and others not. Unfortunately, it might plausibly be said that none of these forms of words actually express thoughts, since forms of words only do this when they are being used and here they are merely being displayed. (This claim might also be expressed as the claim that only uses of words - spoken or written tokens - express thoughts, whereas types do not.) Hence if that is all Frege meant by "the mere wording ... does not suffice for the expression of the thought", no contrast between indexical and indexical-free forms of words has been drawn.
But that need not be all he meant by it. Where there is a contrast is in the fact that, with non-indexical forms of words, the thought expressed by one token of that form will be expressed by any one, whereas with indexical forms of words, this is not so. Call the thought Paul expressed by his utterance of "I am cold" . If is to be expressed by an utterance of "I am cold", the identity of the token-sentence matters - it must be one produced by Paul. I suggest, therefore, that the way to apply what Frege meant by "[the] circumstances ... are used as means of expressing the thought", and "the time of utterance is part of the expression of the thought" to the case of "I" is not, as Kunne maintains, to say that Paul is a part of the occurrence of the proper name which Paul employs, but that the sentence's being uttered by Paul - the utterance's being one of that speaker's tokens of the sentence - is essential to that thought's - 's - being expressed by an utterance of it.(22)
What I have attempted to show is that Frege's principles about sense and reference require no more of us than the claim which Kunne expresses as the claim that "I" is a singular term but not a proper name, but which would be better expressed as the claim that there is no one proper name of which every token of the word "I" is guaranteed to be an occurrence, and so no one Fregean thought of which every token of some sentence of the form "I am F" is guaranteed to be the expression." It clearly does not follow from these requirements that no token of the word "I" is ever the occurrence of a proper name, i.e. ever expresses a sense capable of completing the sense expressed by an occurrence of some predicate " is F", or therefore that no token of a sentence of the form "I am F" is ever the complete expression of a Fregean thought. But it is only that unwarranted inference from the Fregean requirements which led Kunne to the view that, when a Fregean thought is expressed by the utterance of a sentence of the form "I am F", the occurrence of the proper name in that utterance must be a hybrid particular some of whose parts are not token words.
We are therefore free to hold that, when a Fregean thought is expressed by an utterance of a sentence of the form "I am F", the occurrence in that utterance of the proper name which the speaker employs is the token of "I" which the speaker produces, and that the speaker's utterance alone constitutes the complete expression of the thought. Furthermore, if the occurrence in Paul's utterance of the proper name he employs is the token of "I" he produces, it follows that, in order to grasp the thought he expresses by his whole utterance, no further knowledge is required (apart from an understanding of the predicate) over and above the knowledge required to be able to determine the denotation of a token of "I", namely knowledge of the meaning of "I" plus knowledge of the relevant features of the context. So the simplified solution to the completion problem enables us to see how, as I put it in [section] III, the path to the reference of the name Paul employs coincides with the path to the denotation of his token of "I".(24)
(1) I would like to thank Mr Paul Snowdon and Professor Bernard Williams for valuable help and criticism during the preparation of this paper, and to acknowledge the paper's evident debt to the work of Professor Michael Dummett. (2) Kunne 1982 is also of great interest, though the position adopted in it differs in certain respects from the paper presently under discussion. (3) Neither Perry nor Kunne confines his discussion to the first-person pronoun, both generalizing it to all indexical and demonstrative expressions. Except for the odd remark, I stick to the first-person pronoun for simplicity's sake, but the account offered here could readily be generalized too. Indeed, as I suggest in the final footnote, there may be reason to think that the account works better for other indexical and demonstrative expressions than it does for "I". (4) We should remember that, for Frege, the notion of a proper name in German, Eigenname) is a technical one. The category of proper names includes for example both ordinary proper names and definite descriptions; and the defining feature of proper names is that each one has a sense which determines a unique object as its reference. I follow Kunne in using the term "proper name" in its Fregean acceptation throughout. (5) This idea, as Kunne acknowledges, is familiar from Dummett: "[in |Thoughts'] the notion of sense seems ... to have come apart from that of the significance of an expression, the principle governing its use in sentences" (Dummett 1981, p. 86). However, Dummett would arguably not make of the distinction what Kunne has made of it. (6) The term "indicator" is borrowed from Castaneda (who borrows it from Goodman). As Kunne defines it an indicator is an expression whose "denotation varies systematically with certain features of the circumstances under which its linguistic meaning remains constant" (1992, p. 723, n. 5). (7) Das Vervollstandingsproblem: see his 1982, p. 52. Having set up the problem in the way outlined above, he there dismisses various solutions to it which have been proposed before - the view that the sense of the predicate is completed by the sense of a uniquely identifying description or cluster thereof with which "I", on the lips of a given speaker, is synonymous; and the view that the sense of the predicate is completed by the object "I" stands for on the lips of a given speaker, namely the speaker himself. Here I want to leave the evaluation of those criticisms aside and focus on Kunne's proposal itself. (8) In both cases I use the adaptations of the Geach/Stoothoff translation provided by Kunne (1992, p. 721), and preserve his italics. The quotations are his [A] and [C], in that order. (9) Kunne's proposal applies to the thoughts expressed by indexical sentences generally, so the proper name employed in an utterance of "today is fine" would consist of a token of "today" plus a day, and so on. (10) See Kunne 1982, p. 69. (11) As Kunne remarks. See Wittgenstein 1978, [section] 16. (12) The remark is from his 1992, p. 723 n. 5. The apology to Anscombe is out of place. In his 1982, however, Kunne wrote "der Indikator 'ich'allein bedeutet uberhaupt keinen Gegenstand" ("The indicator |I' alone does not refer to any object"), noting (1982, p. 65 n. 60) that this sentence marks his agreement with Anscombe's thesis in her 1975 - that thesis being, of course, that "I" is "neither a name nor another kind of expression whose logical role is to make a reference" (Anscombe 1975, p. 32). As most writers use the words "referring expression" and "singular term" interchangeably, it might look as if Kunne had changed his mind between the earlier paper and the later. Given, however, the nonstandard distinction he draws in the later paper between proper names and singular terms, we should be wary of such a conclusion. It is in fact evident that Anscombe would have no difficulty in accepting Kunne's claim that "I" is a singular term, on the definition of "singular term" explained above. After all she insists that "I" (as she puts it) "functions syntactically like a name" (1975, p. 23). And surely what Anscombe meant when she denied that "I" was a "referring expression" was that, in Kunne's terms, "I" is not a proper name - so once again, she and Kunne are in agreement. It seems, then, that Kunne failed, between his earlier and later papers, to adjust his estimate of Anscombe's position to compensate for his own change of terminology. Where the difference between Anscombe and Kunne lies (and always has done) is not over the claim that "I" is a proper name, but over a further claim. For Anscombe apparently holds not only (like Kunne) that "I" itself is not a proper name but also (and in contrast to Kunne) that, when a speaker utters a first-person sentence, there is no proper name whose sense combines with the sense of the predicate to yield a Fregean thought. According to her, a first-person sentence expresses the speaker's conception of an action, happening or state that "does not involve the connection of what is understood by a predicate with a distinctly conceived subject" (Anscombe 1975, p. 36). (13) The fact that "I" has a sense of some sort and is, according to Kunne, a component of a semantically complex expression which itself has a sense, suggests a further objection to Kunne's view. For, on the compositional view of sense which Kunne endorses, the sense of any complex expression must surely be a function of the senses of its constituents. But this cannot be so for hybrid proper names on Kunne's assumptions, for the other component of a hybrid proper name besides the token of "I", namely the speaker, does not have a sense. I am indebted to Professor Bernard Williams for this objection. (14) See Dummett 1986. (15) Dummett makes the same point by urging us to attend to "the logical priority of expressions over their senses - the fact that senses are of expressions". This formulation might be thought to conflict with the formulation in the text in terms of "features" until one realizes - and as the subsequent comparison with tunes (see below) makes clear - that by "expressions" - Dummett means particular (dated) expressings of thoughts. Dummett's position is not nominalism. But it seems to give the nominalist all he could reasonably want without the labour of paraphrase to which the nominalist is committed. Senses are still to be treated as objects; but all "object" means for Dummett is "possible bearer of a proper name". In this sense, thoughts are clearly objects because we can refer to them ("Pythagoras's theorem", "the Doctrine of Double Effect" etc.). What is meant by the denial that they are self-standing objects, however, is that primary reference to them has to be via reference to objects of some other kind, namely utterances. Just as we can give names to colours, but the way such names have to be introduced is as the colour of a given physical object, so we can give names to thoughts, but these names must be introduced as the thoughts expressed by given utterances. It is hard to resist the conclusion that these objects, unlike physical objects or (except in an obviously different sense) utterances, are in some sense shadows of our linguistic practices - a conclusion I think we should be entirely happy with. For Dummett's general account of abstract objects, see his 1973, Ch. 14. (16) This terminology is mine, not Dummett's. (17) See note 4. (16) This terminology is mine, not Dummett's. (17) See note 4. (18) One could also perhaps appeal to translation here. An occurrence of "je" in French and an occurrence of "I" in English belong to the same W-type. Kunne himself is prepared to leave the notion of linguistic meaning at a fairly intuitive level (1992, p. 723). (19) As I cannot see how Kunne could deny this, there seems to be no danger that the two Dummettian suggestions import fundamental assumptions foreign to Kunne's own argument. (20) "In an utterance of [|l am cold'] the proper name consists not only of a token of the indicator "I" but also of the speaker. It is the sense of this proper name which combines with the sense of the predicate in [|I am cold'] yield the thought expressed by Paul" (Kunne 1992, p. 724). (21) Kunne's example of quotation-names may show that there can be names whose occurrences are genuine hybrids. but the fact that Kunne has physical composition in mind would seem to get him into deep water then it comes to temporal indexicals, for how could the occurrence of a proper name be composed both of the occurrence of an indexical expression and of a time? (22) could also, of course, be expressed by an utterance of a different S-type, e.g. of the sentence "you are cold". But it would be essential to 's being expressed by an utterance of that type that the utterance be by someone distinct from Paul, and addressing him. (23) In the terminology I introduced earlier, there is no one SE-type to which every utterance that belongs to the W-type "I" must belong; and so no one TE-type to which every utterance that belongs to an S-type of the form "I am F" must belong. (24) Throughout this paper, I have deliberately suppressed two issues which would have to be dealt with in a full evaluation of the Fregean approach to the first person, on the grounds that they play no part in Kunne's argument. These are the (related) issues of first-/third-person asymmetry - the question of whose grasp of thoughts expressed in the first person is at issue - and of (in)communicability. It might be argued that the abilities exercised by a subject in expressing thoughts in the first person were distinct from those exercised by him in understanding thoughts expressed in the first person by others; in particular, that knowledge of the denotation of my tokens of "I" is not part of my ability to express thoughts in the first person since to do so does not require me to identify myself. One might also argue that, for Frege, the only first-person thoughts I can grasp are my own. Unfortunately, if both these claims are correct - and both may be disputed - the Fregean account offered here, which is an account of the grasp of first-person thoughts, would seem to be wrong for the only case to which it can apply, namely the thinker's own.
Anscombe, G.E.M. 1975: "The First Person", in Anscombe 1981. _____ 1981: Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind, Collected Philosophical Papers vol. II. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Dummett, Michael 1973: Frege: Philosophy of Language (1st edn.). London: Duckworth. _____ 1981: The Interpretation of Frege's Philosophy. London: Duckworth. _____ 1986: "Frege's Myth of the Third Realm", in Dummett 1991. _____ 1991: Frege and Other Philosophers. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Frege, Gottlob 1984a: Collected Papers on Mathematics, Logic, and Philosophy, ed. Brian McGuinness. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. _____ 1984b: "Thoughts", trs. P.T. Geach & R.H. Stoothoff, in Frege 1984a, pp. 351-72. Kunne, Wolfgang 1982: "Indexikalitat, Sinn und Propositionaler Gehalt". Grazer Philosophische Studien 18, pp. 41-74. _____ 1992: "Hybrid Proper Names". Mind 101, pp. 721-731. Perry, John 1977: "Frege on Demonstratives". Philosophical Review 86, pp. 474-97. Wittgenstein, Ludwig 1978: Philosophical Investigations, tr. G.E.M. Anscombe. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
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|Title Annotation:||Mind, vol. 101, p. 721, 1992|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1993|
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