The distinction between denotation and connotation is a philosophically important one that, in modern philosophy of language, traces back to work on the nature of meaning by the German philosopher, logician, and mathematician Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (1848–1925).
Frege was concerned about the limitations of an account of meaning and identity of words as grounded in what they referred to. If meaning is purely referential, then "the morning star" would be identical to "the evening star," as they both refer to or denote the planet Venus that appears near the horizon either in the morning or evening. Yet. despite the morning and evening star both being the planet Venus, the two phrases are not identical. Although they have the same denotation, they have different connotations.
Words with the same denotation but different connotations can differ in emotional significance. The terms "embryo" and "unborn child" can be used to refer to the same stage of development of an embryo (in humans,...
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