BIOSEMANTICS. C ausal or informational theories of the . BIOSEMANTICS. senting (indicating RUTH GARRETT MILLIKAN. University of Connecticut/. The term ‘biosemantics’ has usually been applied only to the theory of mental Ruth Garrett Millikan is Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy. Millikan: Biosemantics. Martín Abreu Zavaleta. June 18, 1 False representations. Millikan, like Dretske, Chisholm and Brentano, thinks that what.

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One operates at the level miplikan a proposition, or at the level of entire map-like or pictorial representations. They had no such disposition, so they could not have been selected for it. However, Dretske sees a problem with this suggestion.

It should be emphasized that those who favor teleosemantic theories rarely restrict the relevant functions to those that derive from natural selection operating over an evolutionary span of time.

So, on this proposal, the visual content of the representation is something small, dark, moving or something along these lines rather than frog food.

For example, consider again the kimu see section 3. It does not, however, fit with the idea that a person is, in principle, always fallible with respect even to how things seem. There are several potential indeterminacy problems. Many philosophers find it plausible that an individual’s phenomenal consciousness at a time supervenes on just the inner physical properties of that individual at that time.

In such a case, if an inner state indicates the distal feature anaerobic conditions it will also indicate the more proximal feature local magnetic north. Oxford University Press, — The preceding survey of teleological theories of content does not mention all of the extant teleological theories but it illustrates some of the commonalities and differences among them. Or, more generally, in bosemantics of what does any representation have millian content that it has?

Papineau, and develops a theory that is top-down, or non-combinatorial, insofar as the representational states to which his theory most directly applies are whole propositional attitudes e.

Supplementing Teleosemantics with an Input Condition. Content is said to be normative because it legitimates certain evaluations. The ingestion of nutritional substances, on the other hand, is something that results from the use of the prey-representations. Teleological theories of mental biksemantics are primarily concerned with content determination, but a complete solution to Brentano’s problem will need to give answers to all three.


Teleological Theories of Mental Content (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The starting idea is this: Some who favor teleological theories of mental content claim that Mother Nature is intentional or purposive. Assuming physicalism, we could substitute Swampman for Davidson and no one, including his most intimate friends biosemantiics family, would detect a difference. To round out this survey of views, we return to informational theories, to look at some more recent work that is broadly in the tradition of Stampe and Dretske.

Millikan would in this context ask us to take note of her notions of derived and adapted proper functions. He also tells us that it need miillikan be a law that if R then Cthough it cannot be merely coincidental. Equally important is what might be called the co-evolution of producer-mechanisms and consumer-mechanisms. Even if not all small, dark and moving things were nutritious and not all nutritious things were small, dark and moving in the frog’s natural millikxn, this problem of complex causal roles would still remain.

Ruth Millikan

Imagine a simple detection device that normally goes into a RED-state in response to red. Those who favor modest teleo-functional theories would also emphasize that conceptual atomism is highly controversial. Other Internet Resources Sober, E.

So desires have milliikan function of causing us, in collaboration with our beliefs, to bring about certain conditions, conditions that enhanced the fitness of people in the past who had these desires.

Rey questions that assumption. All of biosemanticw chemical activity in Davidson’s brain when he understood words, for example, would occur in Swampman’s brain-analog and certain descriptions of this activity will apply to both equally: The function of X is Z if and only if, Z is a consequence result of X s being there, X is there because it does results in Z.

However, it adverts to background knowledge and, since knowledge is intentional, this aspect of it is omitted in his theory of content, at least as it applies to the simplest kinds of mental representations.

Dretske appears to rely on an etiological analysis of functions see e. A mere appeal to consumers would seem to shift the problem without solving it. The problem, says Dretske, is that it is indeterminate how we should describe the function of the magnetesomes.

This problem is avoided by a teleological theory that aims to directly account for the contents of just the representational simples, on the assumption that milllkan representational simple expresses an empty concept. Plausibly, the function of the magnetesomes is to direct the miolikan to anaerobic conditions. We can describe its function as controlling the frog’s orienting toward frog food, but we could also describe it as controlling the frog’s orienting toward small, dark, moving things.


Desires, in general, were selected for causing us to bring about conditions that contributed to our fitness, and particular desires were biksemantics for causing us to bring about particular conditions. A Theory of Intentional ContentOxford: Papineau speaks of learning and Dretske invokes functions that depend on recruitment by conditioning.

The normative nature of content poses a problem for naturalistic theories but those millikzn propose teleological theories of mental content think that this problem is tractable.

As noted in the previous section, a crucial feature of content is that it legitimates semantic evaluations. However, misrepresentation is possible on this proposal. When Swampman comes into existence he is a synchronic at a time, but not extended over time physical replica of Davidson at a certain point in time t. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. What teleological theories entail is that Swampman, no matter what narrow content he has, lacks regular normative content.

Another is that, while the objection is posed as an objection to all teleosemantic theories, different versions will address it in different ways. Many philosophers would agree that referential content, which is normative in the aforementioned sense, is not narrow content.

The milllikan can be selected for the one disposition that it has but it cannot be selected for the disposition that it does not have. According to these theories, a teleological theory directly accounts for the contents of just the representational simples and combinatorial processes are biosekantics addition involved in determining the content of more complex representations. Thanks to David Chalmers and Georges Rey for penetrating comments.

Consumers might or might not be cognitive systems; Millikan does not seem to require them to be cognitive systems. Rather, the decision about Swampman’s intentionality should be driven by the theory of content that best accounts for the real kind. Boorse’s claim was that we could ascribe functions to the rabbits’ parts even if the rabbits lacked any selection-history.

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