Frege on thoughts and their structure

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The idea that thoughts are structured is essential to Frege's understanding of thoughts. A basic tenet of his thinking was that the structure of a sentence can serve as a model for the structure of a thought. Recent commentators have, however, identified tensions between that principle and certain other doctrines Frege held about thoughts. This paper suggests that the tensions identified by Dummett and Bell are not really tensions at all. In establishing the case against Dummett and Bell the paper argues (a) that Frege was committed, in virtue of his doctrine of decomposition, to the thesis that a single sentence can express a range of thoughts, and (b) that Frege was committed, in virtue of his views about truth, to the thesis that a single thought can be expressed by structurally different sentences. But neither of these theses comes into conflict with the basic principle.
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Archival date: 2014-12-12
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