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Volume 30, 2013

Concepts - Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

Carlo Penco
Pages 6-28
DOI: 10.5840/protosociology2013301

What Happened to the Sense of a Concept-Word?

In this paper I shall outline a short history of the ideas concerning sense and reference of a concept-word from Frege to model theoretic semantics. I claim that, contrary to what is normally supposed, a procedural view of sense may be compatible with model theoretic semantics, especially in dealing with problems at the boundary between semantics and pragmatics. A first paragraph on the paradox of the concept horse will clarify the attitude concerning the history of ideas that I assume in this paper. In the second paragraph I will discuss some misunderstandings in the shift from the sense/reference distinction in Frege to the intension/extension distinction in model theoretic semantics. In the third I will show how a particular interpretation of the Fregean sense of a concept word (and of cognitive sense in general) may be of interest for model theoretic semantics.

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