, Volume 170, Issue 3, pp 443–456 | Cite as

Double vision: two questions about the neo-Fregean program

  • John MacFarlane


Much of The Reason’s Proper Study is devoted to defending the claim that simply by stipulating an abstraction principle for the “number-of” functor, we can simultaneously fix a meaning for this functor and acquire epistemic entitlement to the stipulated principle. In this paper, I argue that the semantic and epistemological principles Hale and Wright offer in defense of this claim may be too strong for their purposes. For if these principles are correct, it is hard to see why they do not justify platonist strategies that are not in any way “neo-Fregean,” e.g. strategies that treat “the number of Fs” as a Russellian definite description rather than a singular term, or employ axioms that do not have the form of abstraction principles.


Neo-Fregean Neologicism Hume’s principle Implicit definition Singular term 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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