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Bolzano, Frege, and Husserl on Reference and Object

Dagfinn Føllesdal

in Future Pasts

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139167
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833214 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019513916X.003.0004
 Bolzano, Frege, and Husserl on Reference and Object

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Husserl’s notion of the intentional object may be compared and contrasted with Bolzano’s and Frege’s views on the reference of linguistic expressions, especially since Bolzano was a main influence on the development of Husserl’s views. Føllesdal responds to David Bell’s criticisms of Føllesdal’s earlier readings of Husserl on reference, directedness, and the notion of a determinable object x. He argues that Husserl’s treatment of indexicals and reference is in some ways more insightful than the treatments of either Bolzano or Frege. To preempt the charge that Husserl’s philosophy forwards a naïve, overly mentalistic model of the mind and its expressive capacities, Føllesdal mentions that Husserl developed a thought experiment nearly identical to the well-known Twin Earth scenario later framed by Hilary Putnam to criticize internalist, mentalistic theories of meaning. Føllesdal argues that Husserl was ahead of his time in trying to account for the semantics of indexical and demonstrative terms, partly under the influence of Brentano. This study shows that the opposition between so-called continental and so-called analytic philosophy is not historically as well-grounded as many have supposed.

Keywords: Husserl; Bolzano; Frege; intentionality; intentional object; reference; identity; origins of analytic philosophy; phenomenology; internalism; externalism

Chapter.  7036 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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