Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 7, pp 1889–1906 | Cite as

The concept horse with no name

  • Robert TruemanEmail author


In this paper I argue that Frege’s concept horse paradox is not easily avoided. I do so without appealing to Wright’s Reference Principle. I then use this result to show that Hale and Wright’s recent attempts to avoid this paradox by rejecting or otherwise defanging the Reference Principle are unsuccessful.


The concept horse paradox Frege Wright The reference principle Properties 



Thanks to Arif Ahmed, Daniel Brigham, Tim Button, Tim Crane, Owen Griffiths, Adrian Haddock, Bob Hale, Luca Incurvati, Colin Johnston, Fraser MacBride, Steven Methven, Michael Potter, Agustín Rayo, Lukas Skiba, Peter Sullivan, Nathan Wildman, Crispin Wright, Adam Stewart-Wallace and an anonymous referee. Thanks also to the Analysis Trust for their studentship, during which part of this paper was written.


  1. Beaney, M. (Ed.). (1997). The Frege reader. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Button, T. (2010). Dadaism: Restrictivism as militant quietism. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 110, 387–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dolby, D. (2009). The Reference Principle: A defence. Analysis, 69, 286–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dudman, V. (1976). Bedeutung for predicates. In M. Schirn (Ed.), Studien zu Frege (pp. 71–84). Stuttgart: Frommann Holzboog.Google Scholar
  5. Dummett, M. (1981a). Frege: Philosophy of language (2nd ed.). Londond: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  6. Dummett, M. (1981b). The interpretation of Frege’s philosophy. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  7. Frege, G. (1891–1895). Comments on sense and reference. Reprinted in M. Beaney (Ed.), The Frege reader (pp. 172–180). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Frege, G. (1892). On concept and object. Reprinted in M. Beaney (Ed.), The Frege reader (pp. 181–193). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Frege, G. (1893). Die Grundgesetze der Arithmetik (Vol. I). Jena: Pohle.Google Scholar
  10. Frege, G. (1923). Compound thoughts. Reprinted in B. McGuinness (Ed.), Collected papers on mathematics, logic and philosophy (pp. 390–406). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  11. Gaskin, R. (1995). Bradley’s Regress, the copula and the unity of the proposition. The Philosophical Quarterly, 45, 161–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Geach, P. (1976). Saying and showing in Frege and Wittgenstein. Acta Philosophica Fennica, 28, 54–70.Google Scholar
  13. Hale, B. (2010). The bearable lightness of being. Axiomathes, 20, 399–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hale, B. (2013a). Necessary beings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hale, B. (2013b). Properties and the interpretation of second-order logic. Philosophia Mathematica21, 133-56.Google Scholar
  16. Hale, B., & Wright, C. (2001). The reason’s proper study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hale, B., & Wright, C. (2012). Horse sense. The Journal of Philosophy, 109, 85–131.Google Scholar
  18. Liebesman, D. Predication as ascription. Mind. (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  19. MacBride, F. (2011). Impure reference: A way around the concept horse paradox. Philosophical Perpectives, 25, 297–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McGuinness, B. (Ed.). (1984). Collected papers on mathematics, logic and philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Noonan, H. (2006). The concept horse. In P. Strawson & A. Chackrabarti (Eds.), Universals, Concepts and Qualities (pp. 155–176). Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  22. Oliver, A. (2005). The reference principle. Analysis, 65, 177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schirn, M. (Ed.). (1976). Studien zu Frege. Stuttgart: Frommann Holzboog.Google Scholar
  24. Strawson, P., & Chakrabarti, A. (Eds.). (2006). Universals, concepts and qualities. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  25. Textor, M. (2010). Frege’s concept paradox and the mirroring principle. The Philosophical Quarterly, 60, 126–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Trueman, R. (2012). Dolby substitution (where available). Analysis, 172, 98–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wiggins, D. (1984). The sense and reference of predicates: a running repair to Frege’s doctrine and a plea for the copula. The Philosophical Quarterly, 44, 311–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. London: Kegan Paul and Trubner.Google Scholar
  29. Wright, C. (1998). Why Frege does not deserve his grain of salt. Reprinted in B. Hale & C. Wright (Eds.), The reason’s proper study (pp. 72–90). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of StirlingStirlingUK

Personalised recommendations