Can Fregeans Have 'I'-Thoughts?

Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad de Costa Rica (136):97-105 (2014)
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Abstract

We examine how Frege’s contrast between identity judgments of the forms “a=a” vs. “a=b” would fare in the special case where ‘a’ and ‘b’ are complex mental representations, and ‘a’ stands for an introspected ‘I’-thought. We first argue that the Fregean treatment of I-thoughts entails that they are what we call “one-shot thoughts”: they can only be thought once. This has the surprising consequence that no instance of the “a=a” form of judgment in this specific case comes out true, let alone a priori true. This further reinforces Glezakos’s objections against the set-up of Frege’s puzzle, while also raising what we think is an acute problem for Fregeans, insofar as I-thought (and indexical thinking more generally), understood in their way, turns out to be incompatible with some basic features of rationality.

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Alexandre Billon
Université de Lille

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