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third realm

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


L ogic, philosophy of language, metaphysics Frege 's term. Traditionally, philosophers contrast the realm of ideas or mental entities with the realm of material objects . Frege called mental entities the first realm and material objects the second realm. Based on his distinction between sense and reference , he claimed that there is a third realm of sense or thought . It is different from the realm of ideas because any idea needs a bearer (they are yours or mine), but the senses of words we use in communication exist independently of us. A true proposition is true no matter whether anyone takes it to be true or even entertains it. It is accessible to all in common, but its contents are immutable and immaterial. The third realm is also different from the realm of objective things we talk about or the realm of reference, for many names may have sense but lack reference. Thus senses or thoughts form a third realm between us and objects, and this realm leads us from the inner world of sense-impressions to the outer world of perceptible things. “So the result seems to be: thoughts are neither things of the outer world nor ideas. A third realm must be recognised. What belongs to this corresponds with ideas, in that it cannot be perceived by the senses, but with things, in that it needs no bearer to the contents of whose consciousness to belong.” Frege, “The Thought: ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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