Date of Completion

6-22-2020

Embargo Period

12-19-2020

Keywords

Gottlob Frege; Truth; Judgment; Assertion; Knowledge; Logic

Major Advisor

Michael P. Lynch

Co-Major Advisor

Marcus Rossberg

Associate Advisor

William Lycan

Associate Advisor

Steward Shapiro

Associate Advisor

Keith Simmons

Field of Study

Philosophy

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

In this dissertation I explore Frege’s conception of truth. In particular I defend the thesis that Frege in his mature career takes truth to be an object, i.e., the True qua the reference of true sentences. In the literature on truth Frege has been usually taken to be a truth deflationist or a truth primitivist. Indeed Frege leaves a number of comments that sound like typical deflationist claims and his famous indefinability argument is the most discussed argument for primitivism. However, Frege is neither a deflationist nor a primitivist. His deflationist remarks and the indefinability argument are rather his arguments that truth is an object.

For Frege judging—and its verbal counterpart asserting—is always acknowledging the truth of a truth-bearer. Thus, if truth is an object for him, his conception of judgment ought to also be adjusted accordingly. Indeed Frege shows how we can understand judgment qua acknowledgment of truth if truth is an object. Specifically, judging that p is identifying the True with the reference of ‘p’ non-judgmentally, i.e., without judging that p is identical with the reference of ‘p’. Frege’s conception of judgment impacts his conception of knowledge because the act of judging is that of producing knowledge. In a nutshell our act of judging and the knowledge we produce by it are epistemically grounded in our objectual knowledge of the True. If we take this point into account, we can develop a new reading of Frege’s claim that logic is the science of truth.

The suggested reading of Frege’s conception of truth and related notions can make a contribution to contemporary philosophical problems. First, Frege’s conception of judgment can cope with Peter Hanks’s recent criticisms of the Fregean picture of judgment in general. Secondly, his conception of assertion can explain the connection between truth and assertion in a novel way. Lastly, Frege’s conception of knowledge can be developed into a new theory of knowledge where objectual knowledge is more fundamental than propositional knowledge.

Available for download on Saturday, December 19, 2020

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