Sense and Reference

April Chlumsky Philosophy 3/4/00 Frege on Sense and Reference Gottlob Frege developed the theory of sense and reference into a thorough philosophy of language. He assigned logic the task of discovering the laws of truth, not of assertion or thought. The work On Sense and Reference has received a great deal of attention throughout the years. Indeed, the work On Sense and Reference by Frege, is one of his most read and most refuted works. In Freges best-known work On Sense and Reference two-thirds of the text is concerned with explaining how the distinction between sinn and bedeutung (sense and reference) applies to sentences. After it has been argued that the reference of a sentence is a truth-value, the remainder of the essay tries to show how apparent counter-examples to the claim can be accounted for.1 Frege makes progress in this doctrine by assigning thoughts to a different semantic level than that of truth-values. He also shows that the paradigm of reference seems to be the relation between a name and what it names.1 After this he becomes occupied with his discussion of proper names ( the reference of the sentence) and definite descriptions (the sense of the sentence) then moves on to the second part of his essay. Here he raises questions about declarative sentences. These questions seem to be unrelated to his explanation of sense and reference up to this point. The rest of the essay is his examination of what sense and reference for sentences is. 2 In his ontology, Frege asserted the existence of two special objects, namely, the truth-values true and false and defined concepts as a special kind of function, namely any function that connected objects to truth values. To Frege a sentence stands for or designates a truth-value, it expresses a thought. The truth-value is the reference of the sentence; the thought expressed is its sense. Th…

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