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By Herman Parret

This essay bargains with the trouble of figuring out understanding, taking the knowledge of typical language fragments as a paradigm.

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Sample text

Indexical occurrences of I, here, now, you, we and demonstratives in general, will be of prime importance here, but other paraphrastic-discursive techniques are surely available. Descriptions of the p-component will be dependent on the availability of techniques designating 'dialogically' a truthfunctional domain because here too the propositional con43 tent has to be presentified as a common value . Presentations of prop- 32 CONTEXTS OF UNDERSTANDING ositional aπitudes are surely more complex, and involve a great deal of paraphrase.

The sense which is aπached by any individual to an ex­ pression is determined by certain features of what he knows. Hence there is, on Frege's theory, no room for explaining the sense which an expression has in some language otherwise than as a sense which all, or most individual speakers of the language aπach to it. Thus, on Frege's theory, the basic notion really is that of an idiolect, and a language,can only be explained as the common overlap of many i d i o l e c t s " Overlap of idiolects, and thus of public senses -- this is the furthest one can go along Fregean lines.

This limitation on sense by use - with which I am certainly in full agreement - seems quite un-Fregean in spirit. Presumably, Frege would have allowed that every aspect of reference, even one not known nor understood by anyone, is a candidate for sense; in this perspec­ tive the theory of language is, indeed, heuristically oriented. "65. However, Frege characterized the 'domain of what is objective, which is distinct from that of what is actual', as consisting of things hav­ ing 'a status independent of the judging subject'66 .

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