A Critique of Frege on Common Nouns

TitleA Critique of Frege on Common Nouns
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBen-Yami, H.
Journal titleRatio
Pages148 - 155

Frege analyzed the grammatical subject-term ‘S’ in quantified subject-predicate sentences, ‘q S are P’, as being logically predicative. This is in contrast to Aristotelian Logic, according to which it is a logical subject-term, like the proper name ‘a’ in ‘a is P’—albeit a plural one, designating many particulars. I show that Frege’s arguments for his analysis are unsound, and explain how he was misled to his position by the mathematical concept of function. If common nouns in this grammatical subject position are indeed logical subject-terms, this should require a thorough reevaluation of the adequacy of Frege’s predicate calculus as a tool for the analysis of the logic and semantics of natural language.


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