My intuition is that Salmon is trying to link senses too closely with individuals. It seems that one of the primary motivations for positing senses was to bring meanings outside the head, so to speak, and that much of their explanatory power relies on this. If we are forced to say I have a Marcus-sense of 'Plato' and Salmon has a Salmon-sense of 'Plato', and we can't use each other's senses, don't we fall into the same traps that plagued Locke? Frege himself says, “For once can hardly deny that mankind has a common store of thoughts [perhaps capital T Thoughts or propositions] which is transmitted from one generation to another” (p.39 Sense and Reference). This seems to favor a view which allows that senses can be shared. I’m unclear on Frege’s stance towards proper name however (the footnote in which he addresses them on p. 37 confuses me). However, if we take Braun’s (p.1 of the Frege and Russsel bit) interpretation that the sense of a proper name can be expressed by some description then perhaps we can address Salmon’s concern in the following way. When Salmon utters ‘Plato believed that Socrates is wise’, the sense of ‘Socrates’ corresponds to several descriptions of Socrates for Salmon: the teacher of Alexander the Great, a Greek, a man etc. Further, although Salmon and Plato would give different descriptions to fulfill their sense of ‘Socrates’, certainly a great number of them would overlap. Maybe this overlap is sufficient to allow a sense that both Salmon and Plato could share. Thoughts anyone? As a complete aside, does anyone else feel that Salmon's sentence should have been 'Plato believed that Socrates was wise'?
I think a good way to go about assessing the Salmon VS Frege battle is to post Salmon's argument, and then decide which, if any, premise(s) is(are) false. I'll post my rendition of Salmon's argument, and maybe the pro Frege people can say what's wrong with it. Salmon's argument:1. According to the usual formulation of the orthodox theory, the sentence ‘I believe that Socrates is wise’, as uttered by Plato, attributes to Plato a belief made up in part of Plato’s sense of ‘Socrates’.2. When Nathan Salmon utters the sentence “Plato believed that Socrates is wise”, Salmon attributes to Plato a belief made up in part of Salmon’s sense of ‘Socrates’. 3. Plato and Salmon do not have the same sense of ‘Socrates’.4. 1&2&3. (1,2,3, CONJ). 5. If (4), then when Salmon utters “Plato believed that Socrates is wise”, Salmon says something false.6. Therefore, when Salmon utters “Plato believed that Socrates is wise”, Salmon says something false. (5,4, MP)7. If Salmon utters something false when he utters “Plato believed that Socrates is wise”, then the usual formulation oft the orthodox theory is wrong. 8. Therefore, the usual formulation of the orthodox theory is wrong. (6,7 MP) As a word of caution, Chris commented that premise 7 is misleading, and i haven't yet taken the time to figure out why. Maybe someone can help me out on that. I will post an objection later, and maybe respond to some of Marcus's comments, but for now, like Marcus, im just trying to get the (Salmon) ball rolling.
A little more reading leads me to believe that perhaps what I was advocating informally above regarding the shared content of Salmon's and Plato's senses is similar to what Kripke calls 'cluster concepts'. If I understand correctly, the cluster concept of 'Socrates' is meant to represent a family of descriptions or properties which together would uniquely identify Socrates. Assuming, as in my post above, that senses roughly correspond with some description we could maintain that a Fregean sense is a cluster concept. Perhaps this idea is what Frege had in mind when he said "So long as the reference remains the same [i.e. a set of description still picks out Socrates], such variations of sense [between individuals regarding proper names] may be tolerated" (p.37 Sense and Reference). If this was so, then we only have to allow that Nathan and Plato shared enough of the core descriptions in the 'Socrates' cluster concept to say that they were using the same sense of 'Socrates'. This would also handily explain transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.
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