Full text Read free See used
Mendelovici, Angela, , . Reliable misrepresentation and tracking theories of mental representation
2013, Philosophical Studies 165 (2):421-443.
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Millikan, Ruth, , . Biosemantics
1989, Journal of Philosophy 86 (1989): 281-97.
Expand entry
Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Summary: The term ‘biosemantics’ has usually been applied only to the theory of mental representation. This article first characterizes a more general class of theories called ‘teleological theories of mental content’ of which biosemantics is an example. Then it discusses the details that distinguish biosemantics from other naturalistic teleological theories. Naturalistic theories of mental representation attempt to explain, in terms designed to fit within the natural sciences, what it is about a mental representation that makes it represent something. Frequently these theories have been classified as either picture theories, causal or covariation theories, information theories, functionalist or causal-role theories, or teleological theories, the assumption being that these various categories are side by side with one another.

Comment: This would be useful in a course in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of biology, or any course in which naturalistic accounts of mental content are relevant. The paper makes use of memorable illustrative examples, which will help to convey its central ideas to students, and addresses objections to the position developed by Millikan. Suitable for undergraduate as well as graduate courses.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Millikan, Ruth Garrett, , . Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories
1984, MIT Press.
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Juan R. Loaiza

Publisher’s Note: Beginning with a general theory of function applied to body organs, behaviors, customs, and both inner and outer representations, Ruth Millikan argues that the intentionality of language can be described without reference to speaker intentions and that an understanding of the intentionality of thought can and should be divorced from the problem of understanding consciousness. The results support a realist theory of truth and of universals, and open the way for a nonfoundationalist and nonholistic approach to epistemology.

Comment: It is one of the classic in philosophy of mind, philosophy of biology, and even philosophy of science.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Millikan, Ruth Garrett, , . Naturalizing intentionality
2000, In Bernard Elevitch (ed.), The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy. Philosopy Documentation Center. pp. 83-90.
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Brentano was surely mistaken, however, in thinking that bearing a relation to something nonexistent marks only the mental. Given any sort of purpose, it might not get fulfilled, hence might exhibit Brentano’s relation, and there are many natural purposes, such as the purpose of one’s stomach to digest food or the purpose of one’s protective eye blink reflex to keep out the sand, that are not mental, nor derived from anything mental. Nor are stomachs and reflexes “of” or”about” anything. A reply might be, I suppose, that natural purposes are “purposes” only in an analogical sense hence “fail to be fulfilled” only in an analogical way. They bear an analogy to things that have been intentionally designed by purposive minds, hence can fail to accomplish the purposes they analogically have. As such they also have only analogical “intentionality”. Such a response begs the question, however, for it assumes that natural purposes are not purposes in the full sense exactly because they are not

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Millikan, Ruth Garrett, , . On Knowing the Meaning; With a Coda on Swampman
2010, Mind 119 (473):43-81.
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Juan R. Loaiza

Abstract: I give an analysis of how empirical terms do their work in communication and the gathering of knowledge that is fully externalist and that covers the full range of empirical terms. It rests on claims about ontology. A result is that armchair analysis fails as a tool for examining meanings of ‘basic’ empirical terms because their meanings are not determined by common methods or criteria of application passed from old to new users, by conventionally determined ‘intensions’. Nor do methods of application used by individual speakers constitute definitive reference-determining intensions for their idiolect terms or associated concepts. Conventional intensions of non-basic empirical terms ultimately rest on basic empirical concepts, so no empirical meaning is found merely ‘in the head’. I discuss the nature of lexical definition, why empirical meanings cannot ultimately be modelled as functions from possible worlds to extensions, and traps into which armchair analysis of meaning can lead us. A coda explains how ‘Swampman’ examples, as used against teleosemantic theories of content, illustrate such traps

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Neander, Karen, , . Teleological Theories of Mental Content
2012, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Expand entry
Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Abstract: Teleological theories of mental content try to explain the contents of mental representations by appealing to a teleological notion of function. Take, for example, the thought that blossoms are forming. On a representational theory of thought, this thought involves a representation of blossoms forming. A theory of content aims among other things to tell us why this representation has that content; it aims to say why it is a thought about blossoms forming rather than about the sun shining or pigs flying or nothing at all. In general, a theory of content tries to say why a mental representation counts as representing what it represents.

According to teleological theories of content, what a representation represents depends on the functions of the systems that produce or use the representation. The relevant notion of function is said to be the one that is used in biology and neurobiology in attributing functions to components of organisms (as in “the function of the pineal gland is secreting melatonin” and “the function of brain area MT is processing information about motion”). Proponents of teleological theories of content generally understand such functions to be what the thing with the function was selected for, either by ordinary natural selection or by some other natural process of selection.

Comment: This would be useful in a course in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of biology, or any course in which naturalistic accounts of mental content are relevant. The entry is detailed and quite lengthy. It also serves as an excellent source of further reading. Suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduates.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options