<philosophical terminology> distinction about the meaning of words introduced by Frege. The sense of an expression is the thought it expresses, while its reference is the object it represents. Since the ability to use a term presupposes familiarity with its sense but not knowledge of its reference, statements of identity can be genuinely informative when they link two terms with the same reference but distinct senses, as in "The husband of Barbara Bush is the President who succeeded Ronald Reagan." Recommended Reading: The Frege Reader, ed. by Michael Beaney (Blackwell, 1997); Wolfgang Carl, Frege's Theory of Sense and Reference: Its Origins and Scope (Cambridge, 1994); and Frege: Sense and Reference One Hundred Years Later, ed. by John Biro and Peter Kotatko (Kluwer, 1995).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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