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Why does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful? Free essay! Download now

Home > University > Philosophy > Why does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful?

Why does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful?

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Why does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful? essay previewWhy does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful? essay previewWhy does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful? essay preview

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Analysis of Frege's telecope analogy

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Why does Frege draw a distinction between Bedeutung, sense and idea? Is his analogy successful?
I intend in this essay to argue that Frege’s analogy is successful, in so far as it demonstrates the distinction between, the reference, sense and idea in an expression, but that it is prone to misleading people where the finer points of Frege’s theory are concerned and has problems conveying what Frege meant by the term ‘sense’. To begin, I will outline Frege’s distinction, and why he felt the need to make it. I will then move on to explain his analogy, and finally will show why I believe it is misleading.
In ‘Sense and Reference’, Frege outlines his belief that an expression is made of three distinct elements: the sense, the reference and the idea (Frege, 1948). The reference of an expression is the object to which it refers, whilst the sense is the form in which it expresses its referent. Finally, the idea is what preconceived notions we have about the expression when we it is presented to us. Frege found that distinguishing each element was necessary when analyzing expressions, and that applying one element in the absence of the other two led to difficulties in satisfactorily explaining how language works. What will follow, then, is an explanation of why the each of the notions of sense, reference and idea are essential to Frege’s theory.
We will first be concerned with the reference. The reference of an expression as stated above is the object to which it refers. The reference of an expression is indispensible because otherwise expressions would not refer to anything, but it doesn’t appear to be the only element of an expression. Consider the following:
The Titanic = The Titanic
The Titanic = A ship that sank after hitting an iceberg in 1914.
In both (1) and (2), the referent is always the Titanic. This means that we cannot differentiate between the two. Both refer to the Titanic, and so there is apparently no difference, but there evidently is one. The basic idea in (1) is that A = A. This is a trivial statement, whereas the thought expressed in (2) is A = B, which clearly does express meaning. To differentiate between (1) and (2) then, Frege introduces what he calls the ‘Sense’. He writes:
‘It is natural, now, to think of there being connected with a sign (name, combination of words, letter) … also what I should like to call the sense of the sign, wherein the mode of presentation is contained’ (Ibid, p. 210)
Sense and reference are both necessary and distinct from each other then, although it is important to note here that an expression may have a sense without having ...

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