Conception, sense, and reference in Peircean semiotics

Risto Hilpinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In his Logical Investigations Edmund Husserl criticizes John Stuart Mill’s account of meaning as connotation, especially Mill’s failure to separate the distinction between connotative and non-connotative names from the distinction between the meaningful and the meaningless. According to Husserl, both connotative and non-connotative names have meaning or “signification”, that is, what Gottlob Frege calls the sense (“Sinn”) of an expression. The distinction between connotative and non-connotative names is a distinction between two kinds of meaning (or sense), attributive and non-attributive meaning (“attributive und nicht-attributive Bedeutung”). Attributive (connotative) names denote (refer to) objects through their attributes, whereas a non-attributive name means a thing directly (“direkt”). In this paper I examine the concepts of attributive and non-attributive meaning by means of the semiotic theory of Charles S. Peirce, and compare Peirce’s account with the views of Frege, Husserl, Alexius Meinong, and David Kaplan and Gareth Evans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-1018
Number of pages28
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Conception
  • Frege
  • Interpretant
  • Name
  • Object
  • Peirce
  • Sense
  • Sign

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)


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