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|Other Titles:||A Defense of Millikan's Teleosemantics|
|Issue Date:||2016-12-12 16:54:37 (UTC+8)|
Typical of the criticisms leveled at Millikan's teleosemantics are Pietroski's charges: (1) under Millikan's theory it can be the case that items of content are completely disconnected from that which causes them; (2) Millikan fails to identify conditions that would count against her theory; (3) her view is radically revisionary but she provides no independent motivation for it; (4) she ignores the role unselected discriminating abilities may play in intentional explanation; and, (5) she conflates teleological and intentional explanation. Although Pietroski's criticisms, especially (1), have a measure of intuitive appeal, I argue that they are less substantial than they might appear and that they do not constitute a serious challenge to Millikan's semantic theory. I defend Millikan's position through conceptual analysis, thought experiment, and data from evolutionary biology. To demonstrate how teleosemantics can be expanded, I attempt to show it is applicable not just to cases of evolutionary selection, but also to human learning. Furthermore, I identify places where revision of Millikan's theory might be in order and places where we are unlikely to make substantial progress until we achieve certain conceptual refinements and a greater understanding of relevant empirical phenomena.
|Appears in Collections:||[Issue 79] Journal Articles|
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