On Redrawing the Force-Content Distinction


  • Christian Georg Martin Ludwig Maximilans University, Munich




force-content distinction, Frege-Geach point, Frege, Wittgenstein, Bronzo, Kimhi, Rödl


Frege distinguished the thought qua logical content from the assertoric force attached to it when judged to be true. The gist of this distinction is captured by the so-called Frege-Geach point. Recently, several authors have drawn inspiration from Wittgenstein to reject this point and the distinction it is based on. This article proceeds from the observation that Wittgenstein himself did not reject the force-content distinction but urged us to reformulate it in a non-dualistic way. While drawing on Wittgensteinian lessons about thought and its expression, the overall purpose of this paper is systematic, not exegetic: it seeks to contribute to the contemporary debate aboute force and content by arguing that this distinction should be redrawn in such a way as to exhibit force as internal to thought, namely, as that which provides for the unity of thought. To this end, it is investigated what it is for a thought to occur as a forceless part of a propositionally complex assertion (e. g. for p to occur as a part of the assertion that not p).

Author Biography

Christian Georg Martin, Ludwig Maximilans University, Munich

Christian Martin teaches philosophy at LMU Munich. He has written about ontology, the philosophy of logic, language and aesthetics. He is author of a monograph on Hegel’s “Science of Logic”, entitled Ontologie der Selbstbestimmung (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck 2012). He has edited the volume Language, Form(s) of Life, and Logic. Investigations after Wittgenstein (Berlin: de Gruyter 2018). His monograph Die Einheit des Sinns. Untersuchungen zur Form des Denkens und Sprechens, which provides a defence and systematic elaboration of the “linguistic turn”, will be forthcoming with Mentis in 2020.


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