1892 OnSenseAndReference

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Subject Headings: Word Sense, Reference, Meaning, Referent.


Cited By


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Reference
    • The distinction between Sinn and Bedeutung (usually but not always translated sense and reference, respectively) was an innovation of the German philosopher and mathematician Gottlob Frege in his 1892 paper Über Sinn und Bedeutung (On Sense and Reference), which is still widely read today. According to Frege, sense and reference are two different aspects of the meaning of at least some kinds of terms (Frege applied "Bedeutung" mainly to proper names and, to a lesser extent, sentences). Roughly, a term's reference is the object it refers to and its sense is the way in which it refers to that object. Though the distinction has its home in the philosophy of language, it carries over into other areas of philosophy, including the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and metaethics.


  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottlob_Frege#Sinn_and_Bedeutung
    • The distinction between Sinn ("sense") and Bedeutung (usually translated "reference", but also as "meaning" or "denotation") was an innovation of Frege in his 1892 paper "Über Sinn und Bedeutung" ("On Sense and Reference"). According to Frege, sense and reference are two different aspects of the significance of an expression. Frege applied Bedeutung in the first instance to proper names, where it means the bearer of the name, the object in question, but then also to other expressions, including complete sentences, which bedeuten the two "truth values", the true and the false; by contrast, the sense or Sinn associated with a complete sentence is the thought it expresses. The sense of an expression is said to be the "mode of presentation" of the item referred to.
    • The distinction can be illustrated thus: In their ordinary uses, the name "Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor", which for logical purposes is an unanalyzable whole, and the functional expression "the Prince of Wales", which contains the significant parts "the prince of ξ" and "Wales", have the same reference, namely, the person best known as Prince Charles. But the sense of the word "Wales" is a part of the sense of the latter expression, but no part of the sense of the "full name" of Prince Charles.
    • These distinctions were disputed by Bertrand Russell, especially in his paper "On Denoting"; the controversy has continued into the present, fueled especially by the famous lectures on "Naming and Necessity" of Saul Kripke.
    • Imagine the road signs outside a city. They all point to (bedeuten) the same object (the city), although the "mode of presentation" or sense (Sinn) of each sign (its direction or distance) is different. Similarly "the Prince of Wales" and "Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor" both denote (bedeuten) the same object, though each uses a different "mode of presentation" (sense or Sinn).


  • (Masse et al., 2008) ⇒ Blondin Masse, A, G. Chicoisne, Y. Gargouri, Stevan Harnad, O. Picard, and O. Marcotte. (2008). “How Is Meaning Grounded in Dictionary Definitions?" In: TextGraphs-3 Workshop, 22nd International Conference on Computational Linguistics (Coling 2008).
    • QUOTE: We know from the 19th century philosopher-mathematician Frege that the referent and the meaning (or “sense”) of a word (or phrase) are not the same thing: two different words or phrases can refer to the very same object without having the same meaning (Frege, 1948): “George W. Bush” and “the current president of the United States of America” have the same referent but a different meaning. So do “human females” and “daughters”. And “things that are bigger than a breadbox” and “things that are not the size of a breadbox or smaller”.
    • QUOTE: A word’s “extension” is the set of things to which it refers, and its “intension” is the rule for defining what things fall within its extension.. A word’s meaning is hence something closer to a rule for picking out its referent. Is the dictionary definition of a word, then, its meaning?
    • QUOTE: Clearly, if we do not know the meaning of a word, we look up its definition in a dictionary. But what if we do not know the meaning of any of the words in its dictionary definition? And what if we don’t know the meanings of the words in the definitions of the words defining those words, and so on? This is a problem of infinite regress, called the “symbol grounding problem” (Harnad, 1990; Harnad, 2003): the meanings of words in dictionary definitions are, in and of themselves, ungrounded. The meanings of some of the words, at least, have to be grounded by some means other than dictionary definition look-up.



  • (Russell, 1905) ⇒ Bertrand Russell. (1905). “On Denoting.” In: Mind, 14.
    • QUOTE: One of the first difficulties that confront us, when we adopt the view that <a href="n10.html">denoting phrases express a meaning and denote a denotation, concerns the cases in which the denotation appears to be absent. If we say `the King of England is bald', that is, it would seem, not a statement about the complex meaning `the King of England', but about the actual man denoted by the meaning. But now consider `the king of France is bald'. By parity of form, this also ought to be about the denotation of the phrase `the King of France'. But this phrase, though it has a meaning provided `the King of England' has a meaning, has certainly no denotation, at least in any obvious sense. Hence one would suppose that `the King of France is bald' ought to be nonsense; but it is not nonsense, since it is plainly false. Or again consider such a proposition as the following: `If u is a class which has only one member, then that one member is a member of u', or as we may state it, `If u is a unit class, the u is a u'. This proposition ought to be always true, since the conclusion is true whenever the hypothesis is true. But `the u' is a denoting phrase, and it is the denotation, not the meaning, that is said to be a u. Now is u is not a unit class, `the u' seems to denote nothing; hence our proposition would seem to become nonsense as soon as u is not a unit class.



 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
1892 OnSenseAndReferenceGottlob Frege (1848-1925)Über Sinn und BedeutungZeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik1892