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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 19, 1994

Rod Bertolet
Pages 257-262

Conventions and Coreferentiality

In Frege’s Puzzle, Nathan Salmon takes it to be obvious that the fact that names such as ‘Hesperus’ and ‘Phosphorus’ are coreferential is purely a matter of arbitrary linguistic convention, while the fact that Hesperus is Phosphorus is by no means a conventional matter. Salmon also takes these points to be ones to which Frege appeals in the opening paragraph of “On Sense and Reference,” and hence finds it ironic that these points undercut the theory of sense that Frege develops in that paper. It is argued that the thesis that the coreferentiality of a pair of proper names is purely a matter of arbitrary linguistic convention is inconsistent with any plausible theory of reference. Salmon’s reading of Frege’s argument is also called into question.

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