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Michael Dummetts Frege

Peter Sullivan

1 Introduction
It has become standard for commentators to note sadly how little impact Freges work had amongst his contemporaries, but then to temper this observation by claiminganenormousindirectinfluenceforhisideasthroughtheworkofthosefew whodidpayseriousattentiontothem,perhapsmostnotablyRussell,Wittgenstein, and Carnap. How effective or transparent those conduits were is still a matter of scholarly debate.1 For myself, I am increasingly persuaded that much of what we would now judge to be most centrally important in Frege was at best imperfectly transmitted. Thatwecannowattemptjudgementonwhatisthuscentralisowed,inthefirst place, to the republication and translation of Freges work that effectively began withAustinsversionofGrundlagenin1950.Austinhadtranslatedtheworksoasto beabletosetifforanOxfordfinalspaper.MichaelDummetttookthecourse,and was, he reports, bowled over by the Grundlagen, so much so that during the followingyearhesettleddowntoreadeverythingthatFregehadwritten(2007:9 10). Soon, though not at first, Geach and Blacks Translations (1952) would help in this, but before long the work would take Dummett to Munster to examine Frege unpublishedwork:thefirstresultofthisstudyisthe1956Postscripttohis1955 Frege on Functions, itself an important early step in dispelling bizarre misconceptions of Freges doctrines which seem then to have been prevalent.2 Dummett began to form plans for a comprehensive book on Frege. This required further sustained study of the Nachlass, including a visit in 1957 when, its editors acknowledge,Dummettprovidedanimportantstimulusandessentialspadework (PWxii)towardsitspublication.Frege:PhilosophyofLanguage,aratherdifferentbook fromthatfirstplanned,eventuallyappearedin1973.Dummettmodestlyremarksof it,IbelievethatthebookhelpedtoreviveinterestinFrege(2007:24).PeterGeach,
TherouteviaCarnapisconsideredbyErichReckinthisvolume.RecentlyMichaelPotterhasadded greatlytoourunderstandingoftheroutethroughCambridge,demonstratinghowcertainofFreges very general insights, for instance about the unique status of logic and the special character of its definingconcernwiththenotionoftruth,shapedWittgensteinsearliestreflections(Potter2009,ch. 29). 2Klemkesanthology(1968)bearswitnesstomanyofthese.

with whom he had been in discussion about Frege virtually from the beginning of thework,morenearlyconveysitsimportance:
As a guide to Freges thought [Dummett] is absolutely unrivalled. Many books about Frege have now appeared; none even distantly approaches this in its wide learning, deep sympathy with Frege, and clarity and patience of exposition. (1976: 449)

Of course, many more books have since appeared, but a similar judgement today wouldbenolessclearlytrue.Thedevelopmentoftheinterpretationthebookoffers played so vital a role in the wider rediscovery of Frege that the two cannot be disentangled.Itsinsightandforcearesuchthatitcanfairlybesaidtobethesecond factorthatnowinformsourunderstandingofwhatFregewascentrallyabout.(This much is acknowledged in a backhanded kind of way that has understandably irritated Dummett (IFP xiv) by those who contest his interpretation, while nonethelessdescribingitastheorthodoxorstandardview.) To attempt to sketch even the highlights of Dummetts Frege in one chapter wouldbefoolish.TheapproachIhavechoseninsteadistoconfineattentiontothe opening three chapters of Frege: Philosophy of Language, because in these chapters I thinkwecanmostclearlyseethecentralreasonfortheuniqueauthorityanddepth of his interpretation. This reason is that Dummetts interpretation begins where Frege himself began, with the discovery, in Begriffsschrift, of quantification, the deepestsingletechnicaladvanceevermadeinlogic(FPLxxxiii).Ashesays,atthe openingofChapter2,
ThediscoverybyFrege,attheoutsetofhiscareer,ofthenotationofquantifiersand variables for the expression of generality dominated his entire subsequent outlook upon logic. By means of it, he resolved, for the first time in the whole history of logic,theproblemwhichhadfoiledthemostpenetratingmindsthathadgiventheir attention to the subject. It is not surprising that Freges approached was ever afterwards governed by the lessons which he regarded as being taught by this discovery.(FPL8)

This discovery and those lessons will be our concern. We will approach them, as Dummett does in Chapter 1, through an account of the philosophical context in whichthediscoverytookplace.

2 The foundation of a theory of meaning

Precision and rigour, Frege says, are the prime aim of the concept script (PW 32). He tells us that the idea of the concept script first arose in the course of investigationstodeterminehowfaronecouldgetinarithmeticbymeansoflogical deductionsalone,supportedonlybythelawsofthought(BsPreface,CN104).The aim immediately requires some means of being assured that no other, unacknowledgedsupportisbeingtacitlyreliedon.Itwouldbeessential,then,tolay outhisdeductionsinfull,tokeepthechainofreasoningfreeofgaps(ibid.).But whatdoesitmeantodothat,andhowwillweknowwhetherwehavemanagedit? OnbothquestionsFregefoundthatthenaturallanguageinwhichheatfirsttriedto formulate these deductions let him down. Aiming for explicitness produced only unwieldiness and complexity, thus increasing, rather than reducing, the resources presupposedofanyoneinhisreceiving,understandingandendorsingthereasoning setout.Thissituationseemedtoput,notjusttheachievementofthegoal,buteven anyunderstandingofitasanapproachableideal,furtherfromview.Dwellingonit one could easily be led to think that full explicitness in reasoning, like full understandingofanotherhumanbeing,isawhimsicalfantasy. This is the problem from which Dummetts exposition sets out. The original task that Frege set himself, he says, was to bring to mathematics the means to achieve absolute rigour in the process of proof What Frege wanted was a framework within which all mathematical proofs might be presented and which would offer a guarantee against incorrect argumentation: of a proof so set out, it wouldbepossibletobecertainthatitwasnoterroneous,orvalidonlywithincertain restrictions not made explicit, or dependent on unstated assumptions (FPL 1). In the three paragraphs that begin with this observation Dummett sets out a train of thought that gradually expands upon what the realization of Freges goal requires. Each step is of the form: to achieve Y it was necessary to provide X. The striking conclusion soon reached is this: that Frege hadto provide the foundation of a theoryofmeaning(FPL2). ThisremarkabletrainofthoughtiswhatjustifiesDummettinchoosingFrege: PhilosophyofLanguageashistitle.Itstartsoutfromwhatlooksatfirstlikeanarrow methodological requirement of a specific and characteristically nineteenthcentury programme in scientific foundations, and develops from it a fundamental reconception of the philosophical enterprise of understanding thought and its

relationtorealitythatwoulddominatethetwentiethcentury.Ittakestheseeming whimsy of fully explicit understanding and creates out of it a crystalline formal modeltowardswhichthatenterprisehasbeendirected.Sotoappreciatethistrainof thoughtwouldinlargemeasurebetounderstand,notjusthowanalyticphilosophy, a movement with its roots in a particular foundational project in mathematics, shouldhaveaccordedsuchcentralitywithinphilosophygenerallytoaconcernwith language and the theory of meaning, but the particular formal and aprioristic characterofthatconcern. The first steps of this train of thought specify the framework Frege wanted as necessarilyincludingaformalizedlanguagesupplementedbyformalrulesofproofs. AsFregetypicallypresentedthem,thesepointsareclearerinreverseorder. Theaimofgaplessproofistoexposeeachpresuppositionwhichtendstocreep in unnoticed, so that its source can be investigated (Bs Preface, CN 104). Such presuppositions may be unstated premises, but equally they may be implicit in modesofreasoningspecialtothesubjectmatter.(Fregeillustratesthis(CN85)by showing how assumptions of the asymmetry and transitivity of larger than have entered into geometrical reasoning.) His remedy is to require that every special assumptionbedeclaredintheformofapremise,restrictingallowableinferencesto those sanctioned by entirely general laws of thought. The first and most obvious requirement of this is that the allowed inference modes must be strictly circumscribed. The second is that there must be no opening left for something intuitiveto squeeze in (CN 104) in determining whether a given inference exemplifies one of the specified modes. The allowable modes of inference must therefore be formally specified, so that correct inference can be confirmed on the basis of linguistic form (CN 85). It is just here, though, that the inadequacy of natural language shows itself. Ordinary linguistic practice of course offers no determinate set of allowable inference modes. But the more fundamental point is that its looseness and vagueness cannot be rectified by specifying such a set. Language is not governed by logical laws in such a way that mere adherence to grammarwouldguaranteetheformalcorrectnessofthoughtprocesses(ibid.).No formally specified rules could therefore be sound in direct application to inference conducted in natural language. At best we could devise rules to which ordinary languageinferenceswouldbecomparedandheldresponsible:theselawswouldbe

applied externally, like a plumbline (ibid.). Clearly, though, that process of comparisonwouldbeanotherentrypointforsomethingintuitivetocreepin. Theconclusionthusfar,then,isthatgaplessproofmustbeformalproof,which mustbeproofconductedinaformalizedlanguage.Approachingtheconclusionin Fregeswayhasmadeprominentpointsaboutwhataformalizedlanguagemustbe that Dummetts third paragraph elaborates. But it is worth dwelling briefly on his summaryoftheseinitialsteps.Fregewas,hesays,proposing[A]totakethestep from the axiomatization of mathematical theoriesto their actual formalization. Theaxiomaticmethodhadbeenemployedtoisolateandelucidatethebasicnotions of various mathematical theories. But what Frege wanted was [B] to subject the processofprooftoanequallyexactanalysis(FLP12).HowisthatA,thestepto formalization,amountstoB,theanalysisofproofitself? A straightforwardly mathematical answer presents itself. Theformalization of proof constitutes it as a precisely delineated phenomenon susceptible to mathematical investigation, just as the axiomatization of spatial properties and relationsingeometryhaddoneforthem.Dummettisclear,though,thatwhilethis was part of Freges achievement, it was not his aim (FPL xxxv): making formal systemsintotheobjectsofmathematicalinvestigationisonewayinwhichlightis thrown on the nature of mathematical proof (FPL xxxiv), but it is not the way Dummetthasinmindhere.Hisideadependsinstead,Ithink,onaratherdifferent sense in which, in the formalized proofs Frege envisaged, correct movements of thought will be fully laid out, and everything involved in them rendered fully explicit.Accordingtothisideaeverythingthatmakestheproofintoaninstanceof correct reasoning, and so what it is in this instance for the reasoning to be correct, willbethereonthepageandopentoreflectivereview.Ofcourse,recognizingitas such will depend on ones understanding of it, but it will not rely on any further understanding, not expressed in it, in the light of which its correctness is to be appreciated.Inthatwaytheroleofthereceivingmindshrinks,asitwere,toapure receptivity,sincetheconfigurationitistoadoptistheconfigurationexemplifiedin the proof itself. The thought, as Wittgenstein would later put it, is the proposition (TLP 4). This idea has, I think, been enormously influential. It is at work, for instance, in Davidsons striking methodological pronouncement that he will not think of [languages] as separable from souls (1974: 185). More relevantly here, it informsDummettsowncontentionthattheanalysisofthoughtconsistsinistobe

achievedthrough,andonlythroughtheanalysisoflanguage.Heisrighttofind therootsofthisideainFregesformalizingproject. Dummett now brings these points about formalization into connection with truismsaboutinference:thatthevalidityofaproofdependsonthemeaningsofthe statementsfiguringaspremisesandconclusion;andthatthemeaningofastatement is fixed by the meanings of the words occurring in it and their manner of combination (FPL 2). If, in a formalized proof, validity is to be determinable by grammatical form alone, then the grammatical forms involved must offer a consistent and complete reflection of the logical relations (CN 85) between conceptsonwhichthemeaningsofitsconstituentstatements,andthusthevalidity of the proof, depend. As Leibniz had foreseen, the idea of a calculus ratiocinator, a methodofproofinwhichvalidityiseffectivelydecideablebyreferencetosyntactic criteria,3hastheclosestpossiblelinkswiththatofalinguacharacteristica,ascript which compound[s] a concept out of its constituents (PW 9): the first is feasible onlyasasupplementtothesecond.Ananalysisofproof,then,mustrestonan analysisof the structure of the statements that make up the proof (FPL 2), since thatanalysismustbeembodiedinthegrammaticalstructuresofthesentencesofthe languageinwhichtheproofisconducted.Whatthiscallsforisasemanticanalysis, one that explains how the meaning of each sentence [is] determined from its internal structure. This is the requirement that Dummett summarizes by saying thatFregehad,inotherwords,toprovidethefoundationofatheoryofmeaning (FPL2). Why is this an appropriate summary? One might be misled on this by a formulationearlierintheparagraph,whichrepresentsitasFregestasktogivean analysis of the structure of the statements of our language (FPL 2). The semantic analysis the project demands relates rather to the sentences of the formalized language,thoseactuallyoccurringinproofs.Therearefamiliarviewsaccordingto whichsuchananalysisshedsamoreorlessdirectlightonthemeansbywhichthe same propositions are expressed by our own, naturallanguage sentences; such views would then cast Freges analysis as at least an important first step in explaining how our sentences bear the meanings they do perhaps, then, as a foundationofatheoryofmeaningforthem.Butnosuchviewisentailedinthe

Calculemus suggests a stronger notion of decidability, where the production, and not just the checking,ofproofscouldbemechanized;thiswasnotpartofwhatFregetookfromLeibniz.

trainofthoughtwehavereviewed,andnoneisplausiblyattributedtoFrege(CN85, PW13).Dummett,moreover,wouldclearlyagreewiththesepoints.Herepeatedly emphasizesthatFregedidnotaimtoexplainhowourlanguageworks(FPL36) thecomplexanddisorderlymeansbywhichitmanages,totheextentthatitdoes,to express the propositions that interested him and that his key achievement, the analysis of propositions involving multiple generality, was reached by ignoring naturallanguage(FPL20).Ofcourse,ifnaturallanguagehasthemeanstoexpress thesepropositions,thenFregesanalysisoftheirstructurewillstandasaconstraint on any account of what those means might be; but if not, Dummett says, nicely capturing Freges own attitude, so much the worse for natural language (ibid.). Frege need take no stance on the issue, and neither is any stance taken in the conclusionofDummettsthatweareconsidering. This conclusion should instead be understood in the light of Dummetts later explanation that a theory of meaning is a general account of the workings of language (FPL 83), or an account of how language functions, that is, not only of how it does what it does, but of what it is that it does (FPL 92). Formalization demanded of Freges language complete perspicuousness in how it does what it does; the language thus furnishes us with a transparent model of what it is that it does.Thephilosophicalquestionsthatwelooktoatheoryofmeaningtoanswerare focused on language as such, not on this language or that, but the demands of explicitnessplacedonaformalizedlanguagearesuchthatitcannotbutpresentus withanswerstosomeofthemostbasicofthosequestions.InthissenseFregehad indeedtoprovidethefoundationofatheoryofmeaning. As yet this is, as Dummett might say, entirely programmatic. Freges insights into the demands and yields of formalization are of fundamental importance for understanding the course taken by the philosophy of language and thought in the twentiethcentury.Butitseemsscarcelypossibleeitherthatheshouldhavearrived atthesegeneralinsights,orthattheyshouldhavehadsuchaninfluence,exceptin connection with the specific analyses proposed in Begriffsschrift, to which we now turn.

3 Quantification
No texts exist by which we might try to reconstruct Freges discovery of quantificational logic. What we can do, and what Dummett brilliantly does in 7

Chapter 2 of FPL, is to identify the insights underlying the discovery and to make vividtheforcetheywouldhaveforsomeoneattainingtothemforthefirsttime(FPL 9). The first of these insights is that the idea of stepbystep construction, the conception of a complex expression as put together from its basic vocabulary in a series of steps, should be invoked in understanding how expressions of generality functioninsentences(FPL10).Thestepbystepconceptionwasofcoursenotnew with Frege: children would have been drilled in it then as they are now, learning how differently to evaluate (2+3)4 and 2+(34). Nor was its application in logic: usingthesignstomeanlogicaladditionandmultiplication,(p+q)randp+(qr)are differentlyevaluatedinapreciselyparallelway.Noragainwasitsapplicationtothe logicofgenerality:withadifferentunderstandingoftheletters,asstandingnowfor classes,parallelsbetweenpropositionalandsyllogisticlogichadbeenmapped.But here we run into the limitations of this approach. In the first place, the model borrowedfromarithmeticsuppliesuswithatreatmenteitherofpropositionallogic or of syllogistic logic, but, because different understandings of the operators are involved,nocombinationofthetwo(PW1418).Inthesecondplace,itstreatmentof the logic of generality is restricted to inferences turning on the occurrence of only one expression of generality (PW 1820). Freges insight was that these are effectively the same limitation, to be overcome at once by extending propositional logictoincludeoperationsofgeneralization,operationsthatcouldbeiteratedas(it wasalreadyunderstood)canthepropositionaloperators. The apparent role of an expression of generality, such as everyone or someone,istocombinewithapredicatetospecifywhatthingsthepredicateistrue of,astheroleofanameistocombinewithapredicatetospecifyoneparticularthing the predicate is true of. But the iterable operations now sought would necessarily lead from sentences to sentences. So the implementation of Freges first insight called for a second fundamental idea (FPL 15), which would reconcile these seemingly incompatible roles. This was to conceive the required operations as involving two steps. The first, which we can call predicate abstraction, takes a sentenceasinputandformsanincompleteexpression,apredicate(orfunctionin Fregesterminology),byomitting,orconceivingasreplaceable(atoneormoreofits occurrences), some component of the sentence (Bs 910). The second consists in the application of a quantifier, e.g. everything, to a predicate thus abstracted,

forming again a sentence (Bs 11). This sentence will be true just in case the predicatetowhichthequantifierisattachedintrueofeverything;andthispredicate will be true of a given thing just in case asentence from which it might have been formed, by omitting a designation of that thing, is true. Because these twostep operations are iterable they can account uniformly for the significance of sentences containing any number of expressions of generality. And because they lead from sentencestosentencestheycaninterleave,inthestepbystepconstruction,withthe operations of the propositional logic they extend. These two features together explaintheimmensepowerofFregesconception.

4 Unique structure
In everything said so far one idea has been dominant: namely, that the understanding yielded through Freges logical insights is an understanding of structure. The real benefit of formalizing inference emerges only through the requirement it imposes on the language in which inference is conducted, to render itscontentmoreexactly(PW12),tospellout[logicalrelations]infull(PW13;CN 85), to construct a content out of its constituents (PW 35). The primary insight of Freges account of quantification yields such benefits precisely because it incorporates the expression of generality within the only feasible model for that construction. So, unless all of the above has been very wide of the mark, it is an utterly central commitment of Freges that propositions have a unique structure whichisreflectedintheirexpressionsandinvirtueofwhichtheystandininferential relations one to another. Yet what Dummett identifies as the second fundamental ideaofFregesaccountisthatofpredicateabstraction,andsomeofwhatFregesaid inelaborationofthisideahasledotherstoattributetohimacontrarycommitment. Tointroducetheissuewecancontrasttworatherdifferentnotionsofteninplay in philosophical discussion of the structure of propositions (or the structure of thoughts). The first invokes the idea of each proposition as a node in a space of propositions. The geometry of the space is given by internal relations holding amongstpropositions,relationswhichdetermineanygivenpropositionslocationin the space (and so, presumably, sufficient to identify it). According to the second notionthestructureofapropositionisinsteadamatterofitsinnercomplexity,the way in which it is constructed out of its ingredient elements. This potential ambiguityisoftentolerated,itseems,becauseofapresumptionthatthetwonotions 9

willsomehowrunalonginstep.Butevenifthatissowecanstillaskwhichleads andwhichfollows.Doestheinnercomplexityofapropositiongroundandexplain its internal relations to others, or is it rather that the structure ascribed to any particular proposition is merely a reflection of these relations? If the first of these viewsiscorrect,wewillexpecttheretobe,foreachproposition,asingledeterminate account to be given of how it is constructed from its constituent elements. The secondviewallows,ontheotherhand,thattherewillbedifferent,equallylegitimate ways of representing a proposition as structured, each highlighting some amongst theinternalrelationsitbearstoothers. ThestanceadoptedhereisthatFregeadheresfirmlytothefirstoftheseviews. Dummetts discussion in Chapter 2 of FPL demonstrates the correctness of this stance,andgoesontoshowhow,withinit,weshouldexplainthemostimportantof those features of Freges account that have led others to ascribe to him instead the second view. The immediately following section will consider these matters. Dummett goes beyond this, however, in recognizing and exploring a different challengetothefirstview.Thisfurtherchallengetakesofffromtheobservationthat, wheresomethingXisheldtostandinanysuchrelationasgrounding,entailing,or explainingtosomethingY,weshouldnotingeneralsupposethatXwillfullyreveal itselfinY,orthatXwillbeadequatelycharacterizablebyattentiontoY.Athings physical makeup explains why it will tip the balance against some other things while being outweighed by still others, but there is only so much you can learn about the physical makeup of a thing with a set of scales. If the structure of propositionsgroundstheirinferentialconnections,mightitnotsimilarlybethecase thatlogic,whichattendstoandencodestheseconnections,cangiveusonlyapartial view of the grounding structures? Wittgenstein for one, and Ramsey for another, certainlythoughtso.TheirviewsrepresentadeepchallengetoFregesconceptionof therelationsbetweenlogic,analysis,andontology.Thechallengelieswellbeyond the scope of this chapter. But in the final section I will consider Dummetts treatmentofanissuethatis,inmyview,essentialforevaluatingit.

5 Analysis and decomposition

Traditionally the philosophical analysis of a proposition or thought, like the grammatical analysis of a sentence, begins with its division into subject and predicate. Frege, however, allows this distinction no place in his way of 10

representingajudgement(Bs3),andproposestoreplacetheconceptsofsubjectand predicate with those of argument and function (Bs Preface, CN 107). Using these simplyasreplacementtermswemightthendescribecarbondioxideisheavierthan oxygen(cHo)asdividingintotheargumentcarbondioxideandthefunctionis heavier than oxygen (i.e. as dividing cHo). This distinction, Frege however remarks,hasnothingtodowiththeconceptualcontent,butonlywithourwayof viewing it (Bs 9). To reinforce the point he introduces for comparison the proposition carbondioxide is heavier than hydrogen (cHh). Suppose we think of this second as obtained from the first by replacing oxygen by hydrogen, leaving theremainderconstant;thenweseethepairasdividing (1) cHo cHh

andsohavethesamefunctionwithdifferentarguments.Butnowsupposeinstead that carbondioxide represents the focus of our interest; then we will view the second,asinitiallyweviewedthefirst,astellingussomethingaboutit,sothatthe pairnowdivide (2) cHo cHh

givingusdifferentfunctionswiththesameargument.Eachofthesedivisionsofthe pair groups them along with further propositions. The catalogue begun in (1) continues,forinstance,withcarbondioxideisheavierthannitrogen;thatbegun in(2)withcarbondioxideisinert.Oftheinterconnectionsbetweenpropositions highlighted in this way different ones will be relevant in different connections most importantly, in connection with different inferences. But neither of these divisionscouldclaimtotakeuscloserthantheothertohowanyofthepropositions dividesofitself. WhatFregesayshereisplainlyright.Equallyplainly,ithasnotendencytotell againsttheviewthatthereisawaythepropositionisarticulatedinitself.Tostate the obvious, cHo can be divided after its first constituent (cHo) or before its third (cHo) because it has three constituents. Neither of these divisions provides an account of how the proposition is constructed out of these three constituents; instead,eachofthemdependsonsuchanaccount. This case presents us with probably the simplest example of a contrast which Dummett introduces in FPL as one between two different sorts of analysis, or two


differentunderstandingsofanalysis(FPL28),butwhichhelaterelaboratesinthe distinctionbetweenanalysisanddecomposition.Analysisaimsatanaccountofhowa proposition is constructed, typically in several stages, from its simple constituents. Decomposition is then the process by which a proposition so constructed may be regarded as dividing into constant and variable components.4 The importance of this distinction emerges more clearly in connection with more complex examples. Butbeforeweturntosuchexamplesitisworthcounteringamisunderstandingthat findsachallengetotheideathatpropositionshaveauniquestructureeveninwhat Fregehastosayaboutthissimplestofcases. In a natural language sentence the principal focus of interest will typically be presentedbythegrammaticalsubjectofthesentence.Soonewayofencouragingus toviewcarbondioxideisheavierthatoxygenasdividingcHowouldbetorecast itsothattheargumentoxygenappearsassubject:oxygenislighterthancarbon dioxide.Thisrecastingleavesunalteredthepropositionalcontentexpressed(Bs3); andthiscontenthas,wesaid,threebasicconstituents.Butnow,itmightbeasked, which three constituents are these? Heavier and lighter are not synonyms, but indicate relations that are converse to each other. Which of them occurs in the supposedsinglecontentexpressedbyourtwosentences?5 If this were a good question, we should have to admit that there is no good answer to it; and that would be one route to the conclusion that a propositional contenthasinitselfnouniqueanalysisintoitsconstituents.Butitisplainlynota goodquestion.ForFrege,arelationisincomplete,whichmeans(atleast)thatto mentionarelationistospeakofonethingsstandingintherelationtoanother.So the only sensible question to ask in this case is whether our proposition speaks of somethings being heavier than another, or of somethings being lighter than
IFPch.15;theterminologyofanalysisanddecompositionisintroducedatp.271.Wewillalso follow Dummetts terminological distinction between the immediate or ultimate constituents of a proposition exposed by its analysis, and the components into which it divides on any one decomposition. 5BothLevine(2002:205)andRicketts(1996:67)discussRussellsresponsetothisquestion,whichwas toacceptthat,sinceheavierandlighterareobviouslydifferent,AisheavierthanBandBislighter than A must express different (though equivalent) propositions, the first having heavier as constituent,thesecondlighter.Surprisinglybothgoontosuggest,quitewrongly,thatFregewould have difficulties answering the same question (Levine 2002: 2056; Ricketts 1996: fn. 31). This is to overlook the essential role played in Russells response by his commitment that these two words [heavierandlighter]havecertainlyeachameaning,evenwhennotermsarementionedasrelatedby them(1903:219,myemphasis),acommitmentFregedoesnotshare.


another.Andtheonlysensibleanswertothatquestionisthatthepropositiondoes both, simultaneously. To introduce into Freges language a symbol allowing us to say that something x is heavier than something y is automatically to introduce a symbolallowingustosayofythatxisheavierthanit,i.e.thatyislighterthanx.So we do not have to choose whether our single content involves heavier or lighter as constituent:forittoincludetheoneisforittoincludetheother.6 Our counter to that challenge highlights a further principle governing Freges analysiswhichDummettmakescentraltohisexposition(FPL35ff.),namely,thatto identify any element of a proposition, or of the sentence that expresses it, is to identifytherolethatelementplaysindeterminingwhatisrequiredforthetruthof theproposition.Merelypointingtothesupposedconstituentheavier,orlighter,falls shortofthat,sinceitdoesnotsettlewhichthingistobetheheavier,andwhichthe lighter, if the proposition is true. This point applies to the constituents of a proposition revealed by its analysis, because what analysis aims at is precisely an accountofhowitissettled,bytheconstituentsofthepropositionandthemannerin whichtheyarecombined,how thingsmustbeforthe propositiontobetrue.And sincethevariouspossiblewaysinwhichthepropositionmaythenbesubsequently decomposed are fixed by its analysis the point holds equally of its components undersuchadecomposition. Frege indeed makes this point immediately on introducing the notion of decompositioninBs9,wherehewarnsthatthepossibilityofdividingthenatural languagesentences Thenumber20canberepresentedasthesumoffoursquares and Everyevennumbercanberepresentedasthesumoffoursquares in the way indicated does show that we have here the same function of different arguments. To have two values of the same function requires more than the recurrenceofthesamephrase,andmorethan,aswesurelyhavehere,therecurrence of the same phrase carrying, by ordinary standards, the same meaning. What is
Thisisnottosay,asRussellcontemplatedsaying(1901:300),andlaterdidsay(1913:878),thata relationanditsconversearethesame.OnFregesaccountsamenessofrelationsamountstotheir relatingthesamethings,sothatarelationRwillbethesameasitsconversejustincaseRxyRyx, thatis,justincaseitissymmetrical,whichheavierthanisclearlynot.Whattheaboveclaimstobethe same are rather what it is for a proposition to express a relation and what it is for it to express the converseofthatrelation.


required is that the phrase play the same role, in relation to its putative argument expression,insettlingwhatisrequiredforthetruthofthewhole.Inthefirstofour sentencestheroleofthephraseistoformulateapropositionthatwillbetrueifthe condition it expresses is satisfied by the object designated by its argument expression.Sincethesuggestedargumentexpressioninthesecondsentence,every positiveinteger,doesnotdesignateanyparticularobject,thatcannotbetheroleof thecommonphraseinthesecondsentence:asFregesummarizesthepoint,whatis asserted of the number 20 cannot be asserted in the same sense of [the concept] every positive integer; the concepts are, he says, of different rank, or level (Bs 9). This is the crucial point for deflecting a serious misunderstanding of Freges remarkinthefollowingsectionthat,becauseappearsataplaceinthesymbol(A) (whichFregeoffersasschematicforAhastheproperty ),wecanconsider (A) as a function of the argument (Bs 10). Consider alternative pairings of the propositions, Inthefirstpairwefindthesamefunction(S)ofdifferentarguments(kandh);in the second the same function (h) of different arguments (S and Y). Frege holds thatthedifferentwaysinwhichthesameconceptualcontentcanbeconsideredasa functionofthisorthatargumenthavenoimportance,orthattheyhavenothingto dowiththeconceptualcontent(Bs9).ThemisreadingconcludesthatwhetherS, oranythingelse,isafunctionhastodoonlywithourwayofviewingitwhether weviewitinlinewithpairing(1)orpairing(2)andsopurportstodiscoverafar more radical rejection of the concepts of subject and predicate. But now if the S thatoccursasfunctioninpairing(1)istoberecognizedagaininpairing(2),itsrole theremustbethesame.SoconceivingSasargumenttoacertainfunctionh,as pairing (2) encourages, is not an alternative to conceiving it as the function we recognize in pairing (1), but must be another instance of that. Thus the view we (1) Sk Sh / Sk Sh Yh \ Sh Yh (2) (Kevinsnores) (Herbertsnores) (Herbertyawns)


haveofShunderpairing(2),inwhichSappearsasargumenttoacertainfunction h,islikewisenotmerelyanalternativetotheviewwetookofitunder(1),where Stakeshasargument;insteaditdependsonthatpriorconceptionofit.Iffollows that the function h we recognize under pairing (2), which Frege represents (h) (Gg22),cannotbeidentifiedwithh.Characterizationoftheroleplayedunder(2) by(h)dependsonacharacterizationofitsargumentSunder(1),representedby FregeasS(),whichinturndependsonthatofh.InDummettsterminology,the decompositionofShintothecomponents(h)andS()restsonitsprioranalysisas constitutedfromthefunctionS()andh. This application of the analysisdecomposition contrast illustrates the basic ground of Freges stratification of expressions and the entities they refer to into hierarchiesofnames,firstlevelpredicates,secondlevelpredicates,andsoon,andof objects,firstlevelconcepts,secondlevelconcepts,andsoon.Twoprinciplesdrive this. The first is that the identification of a propositional element includes the identification of its role in fixing the truthcondition of the proposition. (This first principleisvirtuallyarestatementofFregescontextprinciple,thatanexpression hasmeaningonlyinthecontextofaproposition.)Thesecond,whichisdistinctively responsible for the hierarchy, is that some such roles can be characterized only by reference to others, which are therefore presupposed as already determinate. But now what is the root reason for attributing to Frege this whole interlocking conception, in preference to the view on which the structures of propositions are merelyareflectionoftheirinterconnectedness? Asbefitssuchabasicfeatureofhisinterpretation,Dummettlocatesthisreason inFregesaccountofquantification.Aswesaw,thisaccountexplainsthemovefrom aninstanceA(c)toitsgeneralizationxA(x)asproceedingthroughtheformation, bydecomposition,ofapredicateA(),towhichthequantifieristhenattached.The account thus assumes that an understanding of the instance is sufficient to ensure understanding of the subsequent steps, and we therefore need to ask what guarantees this assumption. Dummett distinguishes three versions of it. He formulatesanintermediateversionasfollows.
[Frege]ismakingtheassumptionthat,wheneverweunderstandthetruthconditions foranysentencecontaining(oneormoreoccurrencesof)apropername,welikewise understand what it is for any arbitrary object to satisfy the predicate which results fromremoving(thoseoccurrencesof)thatpropernamefromthesentence(FPL17)


An immodest version of the assumption would be got by replacing any arbitrary objectbyallobjects.ThisimmodestversionincorporateswhatinDummettsview istheadditionalassumptionthatgraspoftheinstanceissufficienttoensuregraspof the range of generalization as a determinate totality (FLP 19; cf. FPM ch. 24). This additionalassumptionormoreaccurately,whetheritisanadditionalassumption need not concern us; I have identified it only because doing so helps to isolate Dummettstreatmentofwhatforcurrentpurposesisthecoreissue.Avariantonthe other side gives the modest assumption, that, from our understanding of A(c), we can derive the truthconditions of another sentence A(d), given the sense of d(FPL19).Wecanbeginwithit. On the view adopted here, according to which propositions have an intrinsic structure reflected in their expressions, this modest assumption is guaranteed just because we understand the sentence by understanding the senses of itsconstituent expressions (FPL 19). We grasp the proposition A(c) on the basis of our understandingofthenamecandofwhateverothersimpleexpressionsoccurinthe contextA(),togetherwiththeoperationsofcombinationthatwouldbedetailedin the analysis of A(c). Those other simple expressions and operations will be replicated in the analysis of A(d) which will run precisely in parallel save for the replacement of c by d, which we are also assumed to understand. Our basis for understandingA(c)thereforeprovidesintrinsicallyfortheunderstandingofA(d), thusguaranteeingFregesassumptioninitsmodestversion.Toadvancefromthere weneedonlyaddthattheunderstandingofccontributestodeterminingthetruth conditionofA(c)byfixinganobjectasitsreferent,thesentencebeingunderstoodto expressaconditiononthatobject.ThebasisofourunderstandingofA(c),thatis, intrinsicallyprovidesforunderstandingtheabstractedpredicateA()asexpressing aconditionthatanyobjectwillsatisfyornot,thusguaranteeingFregesassumption initsintermediateversion. Nosuchguaranteeisforthcomingontheopposedview.Onthatconceptionour representingtwopropositionsthroughtheexpressionsA(c)andA(d)reflectssome connectionbetweenthem,buttheconceptionoffersnoaccountofhowgraspofone ofthepropositionsputsoneinapositiontounderstandtheother,orofhow,ifone happens to understand both, one is thereby placed to discern this particular connectionbetweenthem.Thesenegativecontentionsdonotdependonassuming


an extreme version of the opposed view, as committed to the dubious notion that propositions are grasped initially as wholes, to which a structure is only subsequently attributed in consequence of some connection recognized as holding amongst them. The complaints will still hold against a modest version of the opposedviewwhichtiesthegraspofapropositiontolinguisticunderstanding,and so holds that any way of grasping a proposition will discern some structure in it. Freges assumptions depend on the stronger contention, that for any given propositionthereissomestructurethatmustbeapprehendedbyanyonewhograsps thatproposition,andthismustbedeniedbyanyvariantoftheopposedview. Fregescommitmenttotheviewthateachpropositionhasauniqueanalysisis anintrinsicpartofhisaccountofquantification.Whenputintothebalanceagainst that,suchremarksasthereareelsewhereinhiswritingssuggestiveoftheopposed view7canweighverylittle.

6 Simple and complex predicates

Freges parallel hierarchies, of expressions and the entities they mean, were mentionedbrieflyintheprevioussection.TheyformthetopicofChapter3ofFPL, where the principles governing them are clearly set out (FPL 45). Becausethe two hierarchiesruninparallelitiscustomarytospeakofthehierarchy,indicatingthat ourinterestisintheircommonstructure.Iwilldothathereand,inkeepingwiththe same interest, I will use terminology (and quotation marks) in ways that reflect indifferencebetweenexpressionsandtheirmeanings. In that vein, then, we can say that Freges hierarchy is grounded on the two categories of complete expressions, propositions and names.8 Every other category is conceived as a type of functions, yielding things of one or the other of these basic categories as values, and taking as argument(s) either things of one of thesecategoriesorfunctionsofatypealreadyspecifiedbyreferencetothem. OfmanyequivalentnotationsforthesetypestheoneadoptedhereusesPand Nforthebasiccategoriesofpropositionsandnames,andspecifiesafunctionfrom nthingsoftypes1,,ntosomethingoftypeasbeingoftypen(1,,n).Thus
There certainly are such remarks. Many of the relevant texts are gathered and thoughtfully discussedinLevine2002,Bell1987andHodes1982. 8InFregeslaterworkpropositionsaremerelyakindofnamesnamesoftruthvaluessothatthere isonlyonebasiccategory;thiswas,asDummettsays,aretrogradestep(FPL7),andwewillignore it.


in Herbert snores unless Keith is a liar the connective unless takes two propositions to form another, and so is of type 2P(P,P). Its first constituent proposition,Herbertsnores,containsthenameHerbert;itspredicate,snores,is thus of type 1P(N). In Everyone snores snores this predicate occurs as the sole argument to a quantifier, Everyone , which is thus of type 1P(1P(N)). In Only HerbertsnoreswefindthecomplexpredicateOnlysnores,againoftype1P(N), makingOnlyoftype2P(N,1P(N)).9 Thesetypesfallintolevels:NandPareoflevel0;andthelevelofanyfunction isonehigherthanthatofitshighestlevelargument.10 When it comes to pronouncing these typesymbols two readings suggest themselves.Wemightdescribeann(1,,n)assomethingwhich,inconjunction with n items of types 1,,n, will form a ; call this the construction reading. Alternatively, we might describe it as what remains of a when items of types 1,,n are removed; call this the remainder reading. Neither reading happily coversallcases. Consider,forinstance,OnlyHerbertsnoreswithrespecttotheoccurrenceinit ofthepredicatesnores.Thispredicateisoftype1PN,andthecontainingcontext Only Herbert is thus of type 1P(1PN). But it would be at best misleading, adoptingtheconstructionreading,tosay ofOnlyHerbert,i.e.ofx(xx= Herbert, that it is something which, in conjunction with snores, will form the propositionOnlyHerbertsnores.ThedivisionintoOnlyHerbertandsnores isonepossibledecompositionofthatproposition,butthepropositionisformed,that is constructed, in the quite different way given by its analysis, which would trace somesuch11constructionalhistoryasthis:

Thistypenotationisdesigned,likePolishlogicalnotations,tobeunambiguouswithoutbracketsor other punctuation (2PN1PN has only one possible parsing); but, again like Polish notations, it is morereadableifsomeredundantpunctuationisincluded,andfromnowonIwilldothat. 10Ifallbracketsareincluded,countingthemoutwardsgivesthelevel. 11Somesuch,becausetheoccurrenceofAlanintheatomicpropositionsisanarbitrarychoice:the complexpredicatesnores()=Herbertisconceivedasarrivedatbytheomissionofsomename, butitdoesntmatterwhich.InthislimitedrespectFregesconceptiondoesnotassigntheproposition auniqueconstructionalhistory(cf.FPL14).


Snores(Alan) Alan=Herbert \ / Snores(Alan)Alan=Herbert | Snores()=Herbert | x(Snores(x)x=Herbert) NowconsiderontheotherhandEveryonesnores,withitsanalysis, Snores(Alan) | Snores() | xSnores(x) Here it would be almost as misleading to say, in line with the remainder reading, that Everyone , or x (x), is what remains of this proposition when the predicatesnoresisremoved.ThequantifierEveryoneisnomereremainder:

itisthatbytheapplicationofwhichthepropositionisconstructed. The typenotation we have presented is insensitive to such differences.12 In Freges later terminology, these types carve things adequately at the level of reference, where Only Herbert and Everyone are just two secondlevel functions.Atthelevelwehavebeenworkingat,though,whichconcernsitselfwith howthesignificanceofpropositionsisdeterminedthroughtheircomposition,there isanimportantdistinctiontobemade.Onewayofmakingitisthis.Thesimplest propositionsinwhichann(1,,n)occursarethoseinwhichitiscombinedwith itemsoftypes1,,n,theselatterdeterminatelyoccupyingitsargumentplaces.For someexpressionsofthetype,suchapropositionwillbeanalysableasconstructedby theapplicationofthatexpressiontothosearguments,sothatit,aswellasthey,are genuinelyconstituentsoftheproposition.Forotherexamplesofthetype,thiswill never be so: though they may of course be constituents of other, more complex propositions, in relation to these simplest propositions in which they occur these expressions can only ever be components disclosed through decomposition. The firstkindwillbetheprimitiveorlogicallysimpleexamplesofthetype;thesecond

So,iftypesymbolsaretobepronounced,itmightbesensibletochooseaformofwordsthatslurs overthedifference.1P(N),forinstance,mightberead:1itemshortofaproposition,viz.aname.


will be called complex. The quantifier Everyone is, then, a logically simple secondlevel predicate, while Only Herbert is a complex instance of the same type. This is (an obvious generalization of) the distinction between simple and complexpredicateswhichDummettintroducesinChapter2ofFPL(27ff.).Thefact thattheclassificationsitmakesareinmanycasesobviousthatitcountsxxas simpleandx(xx=h)ascomplex,or(seemingly)S()assimpleandS() T() as complex might make one impatient with the roundabout way I have approachedit.Butnotallcasesarequitesoobvious.Recall,forinstance,whatwas said in section 5 in distinguishing Herbert from the secondlevel predicate (Herbert). Of type 1P(1PN), the simplest propositions in which this predicate occurswillbethoseinwhichitiscombinedwithafirstlevelpredicate(a1PN),most straightforwardlysuchapropositionasHerbertsnores.Analysiswillnotrepresent such a proposition as constructed by the application of this secondlevel predicate. So,bytheabove,(Herbert)iscomplexevenifitdoesnotimmediatelylooktobe. ItisanexampleofwhatDummettcallsadegeneratecomplexpredicate(FPL30). Degenerate examples bring out especially clearly that the core of Dummetts distinction between simple and complex predicates lies in the different theoretical rolesthatthetwonotionsarerequiredtofill(FPL27).Simplepredicatesservethe needsofanalysis.Theyareamongthebuildingblocksofpropositions,or,speaking linguistically, the primitive vocabulary that defines the expressive resources of a language; in this respect, at least, simple predicates belong with the names of the language.Complexpredicatesdonotaddtotheseresources,butrepresentwaysin which the logical machinery of a language like Freges exploits them to codify inferential connections. The notion of a complex predicate is needed, in the first instance,forFregesaccountofquantification.There,aswesaw,itisconceivedas abstracted from, or formed through decomposition of, an instance of the desired generalization, and represents a pattern shared by all of these instances. More specifically, it represents a common pattern in the route by which the content or truthcondition of any instance of the generalization would be determined by its composition, as revealed in the analysis of that instance (FPL 29). The complex predicatesnoresandsnuffles,forinstance,capturesthepatternthateachofits instancesrequiresforitstruththeconjointtruthofapairofpropositions,nsnores and n snuffles, ascribing snoring and snuffling to the same thing. Each of the


instances, that is, is a conjunction, but the complex predicate is not itself a conjunctionofanykind,norisittobethoughtofasputtogetherinanyotherway from any ingredients. It is instead a compendious representation of a range of conjunctions, and the effect of attaching a universal quantifier to it is to assert that anyconjunctionformedinaccordancewiththecapturedpatternwillbetrue. ItisjustthisnotionofacomplexpredicatethatFregeintroduces,thoughnotby thisname,inBs910,becauseitisthisnotionthatisneeded,inaccordancewith the twostep model described in section 3 above, to prepare for the account of generalization that follows in Bs 11. What Frege then says about predicates (or functions) is offered as applying to predicates so conceived, and I think we can agree with Dummett that the same holds good generally in Freges writings (FPL 31). This is most clearly true of the contention discussed in section 5, that the discernmentofacertainpredicateasoccurringinapropositionhastodowithour wayofviewingtheproposition,ratherthanwithhowthepropositionisconstituted in itself. It is also true of the hierarchical stratification of predicates, since it is of complex predicates that it is most clearly true that their propositional role can be characterized only by reference to the already determinate role of the arguments omitted in abstracting them; indeed, as Frege describes things, we can come to recognize a complex predicate as occurring in a proposition only given that we alreadyrecognizeitsargumentasbelonging,alongwithothersthatmightreplaceit there, to an already determinate range of generalization. Yet while such examples show that Freges attention was primarily directed to complex predicates, he can hardlyhaveforgottenthatthepatternstheyrepresentmustbepatternsinsomething. Whether we say they represent patterns in sentences, in the propositions these sentences express, or in the constructional histories by which the significance of these propositions is determined, we are directed equally to the building blocks of theseconstructions,simplepredicatesamongthem.Soweshouldsaysomethingto explain why it is that, although Frege does on occasion clearly recognize this fact (PW17),hedoesnotmuchhighlightit(cf.FPL30,IFP292). The first and easiest point to make here is no more than a reminder of something we saw early on. Frege introduced his conception of a predicate in connectionwithexamples(likecHoandcHofromsection5above)wheretheprior constructionfromnamesandasimplepredicate,andthewaythispriorconstruction makes possible the decompositions Frege illustrates, is simply too obvious to need


mentioning. A second point is equally straightforward. The general notion of a complexpredicate,conceivedasabstractedfromaproposition,iskeytohisaccount ofquantification,andthereforeconstitutesFregesdistinctivecontributiontologic;it is hardly surprising that his discussions give it top billing (FPL 32). A final point, though, is slightly more delicate. As Frege says, if a proposition is to be decomposable in accordance with his new conception, it must already be itself articulated (PW 17). But the demands this conception places on just how it is articulated are minimal. Freges account presumes that certain basic elements, whichwehavecallednames,canbedistinguishedinpropositions,andunderstood as filling a role there that would be differently filled by other names which might replacethem.Hepresumes,forinstance,thatinthepropositionhydrogenislighter thancarbondioxidewecanrecognizetheelementhydrogen,andunderstanditto be replaceable by oxygen or nitrogen. On such replacement oxygen or nitrogenentersintotherelationsinwhichhydrogenstoodbefore(Bs9),butjust whatthoserelationsareFregeneednotsay.Weknowofthemonlywhatisimplied intheabove,namely,thatbywhatevermeanstheyenabletheoriginalpropositionto be understood as expressing a condition on hydrogen that can be considered as holdingalsoofoxygenornitrogen.FromthisminimalbasisFregesnewconception takesoverandgeneratesofitself,inthewaydescribedatthestartofthissection,the whole hierarchy of dependent roles. Moreover, the minimalism of the basis is reflected in a certain thinness in the way these roles are characterized. The basis dictatesofa1PNonlythatitexpressesaconditiononanN,henceofa1P(1PN)only that it expresses a condition on such conditions; and this is something that the simplequantifierEveryoneandthecomplexOnlyHerbertbothdo.Inother words,withoutassuminganymorethanwehavesaidaboutthefunctioningofthe basic, simple constituents of propositions Freges conception supplied him with a systemofrolesforthemtofill.Hewasthusabletoconstruethem,andsubsequently didconstruethem,asfilling(someof)theseroles.InthissenseDummettisclearly righttorepresentFregeashavingtacitlyassimilatedsimplepredicatestocomplex ones(FPL30). Is the assimilation legitimate? It certainly does, as we observed, suppress important differences, differences that emerged in our uncertainty between the construction and remainder readings of typesymbols. But overlooking differences, e.g. between Austrians and other Germanspeakers, is not wrong; for


given purposes, the broader category might be the important one. Is the case comparabletothatone,orisitmorelikeclaimingAustrianstobeGermans,which theyarenot? It is not immediately clear whether Dummett has a consistent answer to this question. For several reasons I opted above to introduce the distinction of simple and complex predicates in connection with secondlevel, rather than firstlevel examples.Thismadeiteasiertoseparatethecoreofthedistinction,whichwesaw has to do with the different theoretical roles of the notions, from further theses Dummetthasmaintained about firstlevelcaseswhich are either dubiousor which have prompted misguided criticism. For an example of the first kind, Dummett claimedthat,whereasacomplexpredicatemustbeviewedasafeatureofasentence, or a pattern in it, a simple firstlevel predicate is an isolable part of a sentence, as muchalinguisticentitycapableofstandingonitsownasarepropernames(FPL 28).Inlaterdiscussionheretreatedsomewhatfromthisclaim(IFP318),inresponse topoints madebyGeach(1975:148);butinanycase theclaimisnotcentraltothe distinction,andwouldnothavebeenmadeaboutthesimplesecondlevelpredicate Everyone . Other criticisms from Geach provide examples of the second kind. Dummetthadobserved,quiterightly,thatcomplexpredicatesformtheprototype for Freges general notion of an incomplete expression (FPL 31); and he had gone on to observe that the clearest sense in which complex predicates are incomplete namely,thattheyareformedbyabstraction,aswhatremainswhensomecomponent ofapropositionisomitted,andsoarereasonablycountedincompletepropositions doesnotholdofsimplepredicates.GeachprotestedthatthisfalseandunFregean doctrinecastsboththesenseandthereferenceofasimplepredicateasaspeciesof object, and so undermines Freges account of propositional unity (1976: 4445). In the first place, though, Dummetts distinction is clearly compatible with acknowledgingthatsimpleandcomplexpredicatesarenotdistinguishedatthelevel of reference (see p. [[n]] above), and in consequence that the sense of a simple predicate, being the way in which an incomplete referent is determined, is itself incomplete(IFP319).Andinthesecondplace,Fregesresolutionoftheproblemof propositional unity does not in any case lie in his notion of incompleteness, but is entirelycontainedinhiscontextprinciple:itisonlybecauseFregeallowedcomplex predicatestosubsumesimpleonesthathesooftenpresentedthisresolutioninterms more suited to the former than the latter. I hoped, then, to avoid such tangles by


introducingthedistinctionbysecondlevelexamples.Butthemoststraightforward reason for this choice was just to emphasize that the distinction is a general one, applicable in principle at any level, and applying in fact at any level where the language includes simple predicates. (Freges language includes simple thirdlevel predicates.) This would lead one to expect that, if the assimilation of simple to complex is objectionable, it will be equally objectionable at whatever level. But DummettsdescriptionofFregeshierarchysuggestsotherwise.Atthefirstlevelhe holds that strictly speaking, Frege ought to have treated separately of simplepredicates, though with a certain inaccuracy he preferred to subsume them under the general category of firstlevel predicates (FPL 38). Moving on to characterize secondlevel predicates he remarks, by contrast, that a quantifier is precisely such an expression (FPL 39); and later he confirms, with no suggestion that any inaccuracy is involved, that the universal quantifier (binding individual variables) is a simple sign of type [[i]] (FPL 48) i.e. of type 1P(1PN). Why this asymmetry? Itwillhelpclearthewaytoananswertothisquestiontoconsiderfirstanave complaint hence, not Dummetts complaint against the assimilation at the first level,andaratherbluffcountertoit.Thecomplainttakesoffonceagainfromthe reasoning that earlier forced us to distinguish the name Herbert from the second level predicate (Herbert), and which we can now set out in more explicitly hierarchicalterms: Herbertsnores P 0 Herbert N 0 snores 1P(N) 1 (Herbert) 1P(1PN) 2 Thetwomustbedistinguished,wesaid,becauseacharacterizationoftherolethat (Herbert) plays in a proposition depends, via that of snores, on a prior characterizationoftheroleofHerbert.Thecomplaintconstruesthisasadistinction betweenanabstractedcomponentorpatternintheproposition,(Herbert),anda genuine constituent of the proposition, Herbert, whose presence there makes possiblethatparticularabstraction.Anditnowasks(speaking,asIsaid,navely):if Herbertmustappeartwiceinthisstory,howisthatsnoringappearsonlyonce?For snores,whenitappearshereasa1P(N),islikewisecastasanabstractionfromthe proposition, and there must surely be, in its case too, some constituent in the


proposition whose presence there makes possible this particular abstraction. This constituent can only be the simple predicate snores, which thus deserves to be explicitly and separately acknowledged; but it is simply missing from Freges scheme. The bluff counter to this complaint charges it with railing against simple arithmetic. It is an immediate and obvious feature of the way the hierarchy is generated by considering what remains constant when something is varied, and thenwhatremainsconstantwhatthatinturnisvaried,andsoonthatanythingat levelnwillfindareflectionatleveln+2:whatfirstappearsasthebearernofcertain propertiesn+1 is automatically reflected in the propertyn+2 of those propertiesn+1 that theyholdofitn.Itisanevenmoreobviousfeatureoftheconceptionthatthereare nonegativelevels,sonolevelthatfindsitsreflectionatlevel1.Yetthecomplaintis asking that the first of these features be respected at the cost of the second, and it clearlycannothaveitbothways.Moreover,therelationbetweenalevelnentityand itsleveln+2reflectionisinanycasenot,asthecomplaintconstruesit,thatbetween grounding constituent and derivative abstraction, because it will hold equally (for n1)whenwhatwehaveatlevelnisonlyanabstractedcomponent. What we can gather from this nave exchange, at this stage, is only a warning againstturningsuggestionscarriedbyonefeatureofthehierarchicalconceptioninto demands that are then pressed in contradiction to other features of this same conception.ThewarningwillberelevantwhenwehaveconsideredDummettsvery different,andfarfromnave,complaintagainstFregesassimilation. Hewrites:
Oncewehaveacquiredthenotionofacomplexpredicate,wecannotrefusetoallow, asadegeneratecase,thecomplex predicatesnores,consideredasformedfrom suchasentenceasHerbertsnoresbyomissionofthenameHerbert;itwouldthen seem quite redundant to insist on considering, as a separate linguistic entity, the simplepredicatesnores.Nevertheless,itremainsthecasethat,strictlyspeaking, ifsnoresistreatedasacomplexpredicate,onallfourswith,say,Ifanyonesnores, thensnores,wedoneedtorecognizetheseparateexistenceofthesimplepredicate snoresaswell:for,preciselybecausethecomplexpredicatesnoreshastobe regardedasformedfromsuchasentenceasHerbertsnores,itcannotitselfbeoneof the ingredients from which Herbert snores was formed, and thus cannot be that whosesense,onFregesownaccount,contributestocomposingthesenseofHerbert snores.(FPL31)


In speaking of how expressions are formed we describe relations of dependence holding between their sense. The complex predicate snores is formed from a proposition such as Herbert snores in that, as a general explanation of the significance of the quantifiers requires, the condition for this predicate to hold of a given object is explained as the condition for the truth of a proposition in which a nameofthatobjectoccupiestheargumentplaceofthepredicate.Thatconditionin turnmustbeexplainedbyreferencetothenameandthepredicatethatconstitutethe proposition: such a proposition will be true if the named object satisfies the conditionforthepredicatetoholdofit.Butifwenowtrytoexplainthiscondition, as before, as consisting in the condition for the truth of a proposition in which a nameoftheobjectcompletesthepredicate,thenweshallgoroundinacircle.
Wecannotexplainwhatitistograsptheconditionfor[Herbertsnores]tobetruein termsofgraspingtheconditionfor[snores]tobetrueofanarbitrary[object],and thenexplainwhatitistograspthatconditionintermsofgraspingtheconditionfor [George snores, John snores, Herbert snores], etc., to be true. (IFP 293, with examplechanged)

Circularitycanbeavoided,itseems,onlyifthesatisfactionconditionofthepredicate quantifiedinEveryonesnoresisdistinguishedfromthatofthepredicateoccurring inaninstanceofthatgeneralization;and,iftheseconditionsaredistinguished,then ouranalysismustalsodistinguishtheexpressionswhosesenseisgivenbythem. Thereis,Ithink,onlyonewaytocounterthisargument,andthiswaybecomes apparentwhenweaskwhytheargumentwouldnotholdatahigherlevel.Justas firstorder quantification requires us to recognize the general category of firstlevel predicates, so secondorder quantifiers require the general category of secondlevel predicates.Ineachcasethequantifiermustbeexplainedunivocally,andsoinaway that accounts for its application to complex predicates, although some of those to whichitisappliedwillbesimple(orperhapsonlydegeneratelycomplex).Letus, assumingittobeprimitive,takexxasasecondlevelexample,correspondingto Dummetts firstlevel snores. F x Fx is explained, as is xSnores(x), as requiringthetruthofallitsinstances.Thetruthconditionofaninstancewillthenbe explained by reference to the condition for the quantified predicate, x x or snores,tobetrueofwhatisreferredtobytheexpressionfiguringasitsargumentin thatinstance.Itisintheattempttoexplainthiscondition,inDummettscase,that circularity threatens; whereas, of course, in our case, of the simple secondlevel 26

predicate x x, explanation proceeds smoothly down through the analysis, towards the condition for whatever replaces to hold of its arguments. What this showsisthatthethreatenedcircularityderives,notfromthefactthatthepredicate whoseapplicationconditionwearetryingtoexplainissimple,sincethatistruein bothcases,butfromthemoreobviouslyrelevantfactthattheinstanceinwhichitis appliedisanatomicproposition. ThisexplainstheasymmetryinDummettsremarksthatwenotedafewpages ago, but it also undermines the ground for it. For now that the source of the threatenedcircularityisclearthecorrectresponsetoitistoacceptitasamarkofan atomic proposition that this circularity cannot be avoided. This response does not question any of the premises of Dummetts argument. It remains true, and an essentialpartofFregesconception,that (A) isingeneraltobedistinguishedfrom,andexplainedby, (B) Itisalsotrue,asDummettsays,thatexplaining (A1) whatitisforasimple,atomicpredicatetoholdofagivenobject byreferenceto (B1) theconditionforthetruthofanatomicpropositioninwhichanameof theobjectcompletesthepredicate getsuspreciselynowhere.Butthisisnogroundforcomplaint.Thereasonitgets us nowhere is that there is nowhere further to go: analysis, having reached its atomicbasis,terminateshere.Wecannothave,andshouldnotexpect,anyaccount ofwhatitistograsptheapplicationconditionofanatomicpredicatethatrepresents it as prior to, or as offering a noncircular explanation of, the ability to use that grasp of the condition for the truth of a proposition in which a designationofthatentityoccursasargumenttothepredicate. graspoftheconditionforapredicatetoholdofagivenentity


predicate in framing judgements. Rather the two are, as Frege said, simultaneous (PW17). Toinsistondistinguishingthesimplepredicatesnoresfromthatinstanceof thegeneralcategoryoffirstlevelpredicatesthatwehaverepresentedsnores,and thus to resist Freges assimilation, is, I have claimed, to demand something impossible. In this respect (though only in this respect) Dummetts argument has somethingincommonwiththenavecomplaintcounteredabove,andthisemerges in his description of snores as a degenerate case of a complex predicate (FPL 30). There should be no general objection tothis notion. Earlier I adopted it from him, and agreed that it applies to the secondlevel (Herbert). This predicate is complex,bytheexplanationgiven,becauseanalysisofitssimplestoccurrences,e.g. Herbertsnores,willnotrepresentthemasinvolvingitasaconstituent;itisonlya degenerate case because it is not, in any ordinary sense, compound. But note that this explanation presupposes the hierarchical structure we have described, as providingthemorebasicanalysisofHerbertsnoresinwhich(Herbert)doesnot figure.Thisstructureprovidesnomorebasicanalysisofthesimplestoccurrencesof snores than that they are completions of it. So to describe this as a degenerate complex predicate is to exploit a notion explained by the hierarchical structure in hankeringafterastillmorebasicanalysisthananythisstructureprovides;whereas, Ihavesuggested,theonlycorrectresponseforsomeonewhorespectsthisstructure asprovidingtheframeworkforanalysisistoaccept,asFregedid,thattherecanbe no such account. To repeat, there is nothing wrong with the general notion of a degeneratecomplexpredicate.Buttherearenofirstlevelexamplesofit.Thereis, then,noneedtodistinguishthesimplepredicatethatoccursinHerbertsnoresfrom anysuchthing. What this shows, I think, is that there can be no such slight inaccuracy as Dummett complains of in Freges assimilation of simple predicates to the general categoryoffirstlevelpredicates.SofarasconcernstheinterpretationofFregethisis a point of disagreement with Dummett, but one that is entirely peripheral when comparedwiththeagreementagainstwhichitisset.Hiscoredistinctionofsimple and complex predicates is unquestionably sound, and is, as Dummett says, not merely consonant with Freges views, but important for the avoidance of a misunderstandingofthem(IFP292).Sofarasitconcernsinsteadtheevaluationof Fregesviews,Iamlesssurethatitmarksanydisagreement.Foritimpliesthat,if


there is any sound thought underlying either of the complaints against Freges assimilationthatwehaveconsidered,thenthisthoughtcannotbeaccommodatedby a slight revision to Freges conception: no modest tweak of the conception will supply a place for what that thought hankers after. Satisfying the thought will thereforecallinsteadforamuchmoreradicalseparationbetweenthehierarchically structured categories required in the explanation of quantificational inference and any system of categories purporting to represent the articulation of atomic propositionsandthefactstheyportray,aseparation,thatis,betweenthecategories yielded by logic and those needed by ontology. This is the drift of the deeper challenge to Frege mentioned at the close of section 4 as deriving first from Wittgenstein but then more clearly and powerfully from Ramsey. It is one that Dummett has very much in mind, and one whose force he clearly recognizes (FPL 617;IFP31922).Assessingthischallengelies,asIsaid,farbeyondthescopeofthis chapter;butIhopeenoughhasbeensaidtoindicatethatnoreasonableassessment could proceed without the deep understanding of the issues involved that Dummettsdiscussionprovides. For that reason, then, I believe that the case we have looked at provides an example just one example among many of how thinking through Dummetts exposition issimplythesamethingas thinking throughwhatismostimportant in Frege.Perhaps,though,thatistooobvioustoneedsaying.Itcertainlyshouldbe.


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