Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Frege's Answer to Kripke

List of Authors: Korte Tapio

Publisher: WILEY

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Theoria: a swedish journal of philosophy


Journal acronym: THEORIA-SWED J PHILO

Number of pages: 16

ISSN: 0040-5825

eISSN: 1755-2567



In his Naming and Necessity, Saul Kripke puts forth a series of arguments against theories of proper names he calls Frege-Russell theories. As the title reveals, Kripke takes Gottlob Frege's theory of sense and Bedeutung to be a good representative of these theories. In this essay, I characterize how Frege might have answered Kripke. I agree with Kripke that presumably Frege thought that the sense of a proper name is the same as some definite description. I, however, question his assumption that Frege's theory of proper names was a theory of meaning as he uses the term. I go even further and suggest that it is not so obvious that Frege thought, at least always, that the role of the concept of sense in his theory is a semantic concept at all. This constitutes the heart of my reconstruction of Frege's answer. I argue that this, together with Frege's conception of natural languages, would have allowed him to hold that the sense of a proper name may sometimes be the same as the sense of an indefinite or even a wrong description. This makes Frege's theory immune to Kripke's counter-arguments.

Last updated on 2022-27-01 at 16:01