How to Infer What Persistent Things Are Up to: A Fregean Puzzle for Traditional Fregeans

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How do we inferentially unify separately acquired empirical information into a single comprehensive picture of the lives of persistent particulars? This paper argues that hidden in such inferences is a Fregean puzzle that can only be solved by individuating our demonstratives thoughts in terms of object-dependent Fregean Senses. I begin by characterizing some constraints on a non-skeptical account of our inferential unification of empirical information. I then go on to show that traditional Fregean views of Sense cannot explain the rationality of such inferences; the consequence of which would be widespread skepticism concerning fundamental aspects of our empirical worldview. I show how the theory of object-dependent Senses can account for the rationality of the puzzling inferences. Lastly, I consider the alternative that we abandon a Fregean explanation of the rationality of inferences. While not fully dismissing that option, I briefly raise, what I take to be, a daunting challenge that uniquely faces non-Fregean views of rational inference.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online 26 April 2019


  • Frege
  • Frege's puzzle
  • Sense
  • Content
  • Demonstrative thought
  • Inference

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