Tuesday, 8 November 2011

HCJ - Seminar 3 - Frege and language

After the lecture and the reading it was becoming very apparent that the weeks topic was one of the more confusion ones. This being said, after the seminar I felt a bit better and that I understood it a little bit more than what I did going in. Frege made many discoveries when it came to language, a lot of which undermined the ideas of philosophers before him such as Aristotle.

Discovery number 1:

Frege discovered that the meaning of the word is not contained in the word itself, so the word is not a characteristic or property of the object it is named after. So for instance to say a tree has leaves, or a tree is tall is to describe the properties of the tree, but what Frege believed was that the word 'tree' in no way related to a tree. This was totally against the Aristotelean way of thinking, as he would have believed that the meaning of a tree is contained in the word itself. Aristotle's logic was that of syllogistic, whereas Frege's was sentential.

Discovery number 2:

Frege's next theory or discovery about language was that in a proposition or a sentence the words that make them up mean nothing, but the sentence as a whole holds all the meaning. Chris gave an example of a brick wall in the seminar, that each brick represents a word, with the wall representing a sentence. The brick's are meaningless or pointless by themselves and are unable to hold anything up alone, but put together they have a point or a meaning. Along with this theory on sentences Frege also believed that a proposition is made up of two characteristics, a sense and a reference. The reference is an agreed meaning of what the word represents. So to say that 'scorpions are evil', would not have sat well with Frege in that nobody can prove that scorpions are evil, there is no way of proving this with any form of confidence, but likewise you can not dis-prove it. So this brings us back to the old argument of 'the present King of France is bald'. True, False or meaningless?

Discovery number 3:

This was a sentence that was discussed in one my previous blogs: 'there was nobody on the road'. This was a discovery that Frege made, by addressing this problem correctly, and making it make sense, something that Aristotle couldn't do. What Frege said was that 'for all possible roads (argument), no object is on the orad (function). This is true'. This was expressing a negative as a positive.

No comments:

Post a Comment