A Context Principle for the Twenty-First Century

In Annalisa Coliva, Paolo Leonardi & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Eva Picardi on Language, Analysis and History. Palgrave. pp. 183-203 (2018)
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Taking a lead from Eva Picardi’s work and influence, I investigate the significance of Frege’s context principle for the philosophy of language. I argue that there are some interpretive problems with recent meta-semantic interpretations of the principle. Instead, I offer a somewhat weaker alternative: the context principle is a tool to license certain definitions. Moreover, I claim that it merely lays out one of many possible ways of licensing a definition. This means, among other things, that despite Frege’s imperative injunctions, the context principle formulates a permission—not a requirement.
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