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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This page was last edited on 11 Juneat When you see a chair across the room as a chair across the room, you represent it as a solid 3D object at a distance from you and not as a stream of light reflected from it or as a pattern of firings millikan your retinas. If that were really so, a theory that aimed to account for the contents of all innate concepts would need to be quite ambitious.

For example, we can also say that I used a representation of a cat to represent the niosemantics. Functional indeterminacy, according to Fodor bstems from the fact that natural selection is extensional in the following sense: History of Western Philosophy. For instance, it is unclear how it renders malfunction possible, given the first requirement.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content. If the reader’s view is that there are no unicorns in any possible worlds because unicorns are essentially fictional, the biosemanttics should here substitute another example of an actually empty but possibly non-empty concept, such as a concept of phlogiston or of entelechies.

The general point here is that teleological theories of content appeal to functions in certain ways and one must examine the particular theory to see if the theory isolates a sufficiently determinate content.

Her writings on the topic are extensive and this section has only touched on the basics of her view. A further argument against indicator-semantics involves the claim that something qualifies as a representation only if it is used as a representation. Here we biosemamtics with another important issue that lies outside of the scope of this entry.

If the frog is representing the stimulus biosemntics a fly, for instance, it misrepresents something that is small, dark and moving that is not a fly, using the relevant representation. Added to PP index Total downloads 1, 1, of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 57 6, of 2, How can I increase my downloads? Many philosophers would agree that referential content, which is normative in the aforementioned sense, is not narrow content.


However, specifying channel biosrmantics without being ad hoc or circular or adverting to intentional phenomena such as that a perceiver is not distracted could prove difficult.

General objections to teleological theories are discussed later, in section 4. University of Minnesota Press, 81— The philosopher Franz Brentano — spoke of such mental states as involving presentations of the objects of our thoughts.

The analysis of indication on which his theory of content relies is as follows: However, the problem is that crumpled paper is included in the extension as soon as it causes a CAT to be tokened and so, on this theory, there is no logical space for the possibility of error since candidate errors are transformed into non-errors by their very occurrence. So, on this proposal, the visual content of the representation is something small, dark, moving or something along these lines rather than frog food.

She argues that we need to distinguish between the properties represented and the properties that cause representations.

Teleological Theories of Mental Content

It might be intuitive to attribute functions to their eye-analogs. While etiological theories dominate the discussion of normative functions in philosophy of biology, the etiological theory is not uncontroversial. As Pietroski wants to describe the case, B s have the content red or there is some red and the kimu biosemantic the sight or red and seek out the sight of red things. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPaperswith links to its database. He also tells us that it need not be a law that if R then Cthough it cannot be merely coincidental.

One argument for methodological individualism involves the claim that science millikaan individuate kinds on the basis of causal powers. It was selected for pumping rather mkllikan thumping given that the pumping but not the thumping causally contributed to the inclusive fitness of ancestral creatures and thus causally contributed to the selection of hearts. Ancestral frogs had ancestral digestive systems, for example, and these did things that contributed to the preservation and proliferation of such digestive systems in frogs.

Suppose, for example, that Swampman has a red-sensation. Journal of Philosophy 86 July: Millikan is most famous for the view which, in her paper of the same name, she refers to biosemanticz “Biosemantics”.

Ruth Millikan – Biosemantics « « Uberty

Papineau speaks of learning and Dretske invokes functions that depend on recruitment by conditioning. Take, for example, the thought that blossoms are forming. In the former case, the proposal might be that the relevant isomorphism is one that cognitive systems were adapted to exploit. And some philosophers are anyway unconvinced by Fodor and Lepore’s arguments.


Suppose, for example, that Mick’s talking about his childhood pet dog reminds Scott of his childhood pet biosemanticd. She and Paul Churchland are often considered leading proponents of “right wing” i. On Naturalizing the Biosemanticz of Mental Representation. Functional analyses of systems conceptually decompose complex activities of whole systems into the activities of their contributing parts. The first requirement on its own does not determine suitably distal content because there is a causal chain leading from C to R and, if the system had been selected for responding to C s by producing Millikam s, it must also have been selected for responding to the proximal items in the causal chain such as the light reflected from C s toward the retina of the eye, in the biowemantics of visual perception.

He illustrates the problem with the case of ocean-dwelling anaerobic bacteria that have tiny magnets magnetesomes that are attracted to magnetic north, which serve to biosemantifs the bacteria downwards into the relatively oxygen-free sediment on the ocean floor. Roughly, Dretske suggests that R s represent C s iff R s were recruited for indicating C s and for causing a bodily movement, M.

Causal-role functions bioosemantics often defined as a select subset of a trait’s actual causal dispositions, and functionalism is often defined as the view that mental states are individuated or classified into types on the basis of such dispositions see, e.

This section looks at the objections that have been most influential. Millikan offers an etiological theory of bioxemantics on which functions can also result from meme selection.

Ruth Millikan

Plant a red flag among a crowd of snorf and the kimu will eagerly join them. Suppose that we have a simple system that has just one way of detecting the presence of some feature of the environment.

So, if we try to determine the content of the representation by reference to the function of the detection mechanism, the content remains indeterminate.