De Se Puzzles and Frege Puzzles

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (1):50-76 (2022)
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Abstract

What is the relationship between Frege’s puzzle and the puzzle of the de se? An increasingly influential view claims that the de se puzzle is merely an instance of Frege’s puzzle and that the idea that de se attitudes pose a distinctive theoretical challenge rests on a myth. Here we argue that this view is misguided. There are important differences between the two puzzles. First, unlike Frege puzzle cases, de se puzzle cases involve unshareable Fregean senses. Second, unlike Frege puzzle cases, de se puzzle cases cannot be resolved by objective information alone. Further, there seem to be pure cases of each puzzle: instances of the de se puzzle which do not have a Fregean structure, and instances of Frege’s puzzle, which do not involve de se attitudes. We conclude that the two puzzles are fundamentally different and that the traditional theory of attitudes needs to be amended.

Author Profiles

Clas Weber
University of Western Australia
Stephan Torre
University of Aberdeen

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