[FOM] The Irrelevance of definite descriptions in the Slingshot Argument?

Michael Kremer kremer at uchicago.edu
Fri Sep 29 11:47:55 EDT 2006

Hartley Slater,

Where does Frege himself use the slingshot argument?

--Michael Kremer

At 09:26 AM 9/29/2006 +0800, you wrote:
>Arhat Virdi asks about the comparative validity of certain slingshot
>arguments, one involving sets and the other iota terms.  More
>important, in the history of logic, is their clear invalidity in
>certain other cases.  A major argument Frege had, for instance, for
>his view  that truth-values are the referents of sentences was what
>is commonly called his 'slingshot' (see Neale, S. 1995, 'The
>Philosophical Significance of Gödel's Slingshot', Mind 104.413,
>761-825, p765, see also pp791-5).  But the irony with this argument
>is that it is plainly invalid if complete individual terms are used
>for referential phrases (Neale 1995, p795f), and Frege's extensional
>logic (unlike Russell's, for instance, where iots terms were used)
>did employ such complete individual terms to symbolise definite
>descriptions.  As it stands that point provides merely an ad hominem
>argument against Frege, but I have argued in many piblications (see,
>for the latest, 'Epsilon Calculi' just published last week by
>advanced access in the Logic Journal of the IGPL) that a better
>representation of definite descriptions is obtained using certain
>other complete terms, namely Hilbert's epsilon terms, and so the
>inadequacy of Frege's 'slingshot' argument can be argued for much
>more generally.
>Barry Hartley Slater
>Honorary Senior Research Fellow
>Philosophy, M207 School of Humanities
>University of Western Australia
>35 Stirling Highway
>Crawley WA 6009, Australia
>Ph: (08) 6488 1246 (W), 9386 4812 (H)
>Fax: (08) 6488 1057
>Url: http://www.philosophy.uwa.edu.au/staff/slater
>FOM mailing list
>FOM at cs.nyu.edu

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