Maverick dedicates his post here to me, saying that I like “sophisms and scholastic arcana”. Yes, and Fregean arcana too, Bill, heh heh. His post is about the odd-looking inference
Man is a species; Socrates is a man; ergo, Socrates is a species.
Note that the scholastics would have resolved this by treating the conclusion as a reduplicative proposition: Socrates insofar as he is a man, is a species, but never mind that. Maverick goes on to discuss the ‘modern’ Fregean treatment of propositions like ‘man is a species’. According to Frege, a universal proposition like ‘every man is an animal’ has a fundamentally different form from ‘Socrates is an animal’. In the former, one concept is subordinated to another: the concept ‘man’ is said to be subordinate to the concept ‘animal’. In the latter, the individual Socratres is subsumed under the concept ‘animal’.
Fregegives some very bad arguments for this in his famous essay ‘On Concept and Object’, but I won’t discuss those now. For the moment, here are two arguments against his view.
1. Argument from obviousness. It is obvious that ‘every man is animal’ does not say that one concept is subordinate to another, for the simple reason that it does not say anything about concepts at all. What it says is that every man is an animal. Thus, Socrates is an animal, Plato is an animal. It is talking about every man, not about some concept.
2. Frege’s position requires taking on the absurd idea of ‘object dependence’, i.e. that the meaning of a proper name depends on the existence of some object referred to. I discuss this at length here, with reference to another less well-known essay of Frege's*. Briefly, if we allow that a proper name N can be meaningful and empty, there must be some relation which holds between the name and its referent when its referent exists, and which fails to hold when there is no referent. But then a proper name is not essentially different from a common name like ‘man’. We can say ‘there are no men’ if nothing falls under the meaning of ‘man’, and we can say ‘there is no Socrates’ if nothing falls under the meaning of ‘Socrates’. Frege correctly rules this out as inconsistent with the concept-object distinction. In summary: the distinction between ‘subordination’ and ‘subsumption’ implies and is implied by the object-concept distinction. And the object-concept distinction implies and is implied by the position that the meaning of a proper name is object-dependent.
*Though I note that Maverick mentions this essay, at second-hand, in his book here.