The content of a question is that as to which we must decide. Consequently truth cannot be counted as going along with the content of the question. When I raise the question whether the Sun is bigger than the Moon, I am seeing the sense of the interrogative sentence 'Is the Sun bigger than the Moon?' Now if this sense were a thought whose being consisted in its being true, then I should at the same time see that this sense was true. Grasping the sense would at the same time be an act of judging; and the utterance of the interrogative sentence would at the same time be an assertion, and so an answer to the question. But in an interrogative sentence neither the truth nor the falsity of the sense may be asserted. Hence an interrogative sentence has not as its sense something whose being consists in its being true.I wonder if a ‘truthmaker’ as understood by the advocates of truthmaking is the same sort of thing as Frege’s marvelous but impossible thought. Something that if we perceived it for what it was, would simultaneously communicate to us the truth of what it includes.
And since the sense of an interrogative sentence is always also inherent in the assertoric sentence that gives an answer to the question, this separation must be carried out for assertoric sentences too. It is a matter of what we take the word 'thought' to mean. In any case, we need a short term for what can be the sense of an interrogative sentence. I call this a thought. If we use language this way, not all thoughts are true. The being of a thought thus does not consist in its being true. (Negation, from Translations from Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, ed. Peter Geach, p.125).
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
A thought whose being consists in its being true?
The question being discussed here about truthmakers has some affinity with a question discussed by Frege in his late essay “Negation”. He compares grasp of a thought with understanding of a question. And, just as we can understand a question without understanding the correct answer, so he argues that there cannot be a thought ‘whose being consists in its being true’