Frege’s Sinn und Bedeutung: first third

This essay by Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) was published in 1892 in the journal Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik, pp. 25-50. Dealing with the “philosophy of language,” it discusses the distinction that should be made between the sense and reference (hence: the title of the essay) of linguistic expressions.

It will be helpful to have the essay in hand to follow our discussion with maximum profit. It is available in more than one English-translation editions. Our discussion here covers the pages corresponding to pp. 25-31 of the original.

Noll on Bible and Slavery in US History

An essay by Prof Mark A. Noll of Wheaton College in the collection Religion and the American Civil War (Oxford, 1998) outlines the place of the Bible in the American debate on slavery during the years leading up to the Civil War. Noll identifies the dominant view of the Bible on both side of the debate as “Reformed literalist.” Given that view of the Bible, the proslavery side seemed to have the upper hand. The Abolitionists were willing to move toward a “spirit not letter” type of interpretation, but all the orthodox saw this approach as a trajectory toward liberalism. Noll knows that “proslavery” — his term — is wrong, though a high view of the Bible is right; so he explores what might have gone wrong. He examines four alternative hermeneutical traditions that could have led to a different conclusion on slavery, while still holding to a high view of the Bible:(1) the “African American” way of reading the Bible; (2) the Roman Catholic; (3) High-church Lutheranism or Reformed; (4) the non-Southern Reformed, especially Charles Hodge. Only the last named of these had enough of a foothold in America to temper the discussion, but it fell short because of a root inconsistency in the American outlook which compromised the profession of sola scriptura and led to failure to draw a key distinction that would have unraveled the proslavery argument. Continue reading