Chapter

Cutting Philosophy of Language Down to Size<sup>*</sup>

Ruth Garret Millikan

in Language: A Biological Model

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284764
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199284768.003.0007
 						Cutting Philosophy of Language Down to Size*

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Two mistaken assumptions lay at the heart of the mid-century philosophy of language. First, unlike the act of knowing an empirical fact, the act of referentially meaning something, though perhaps not of actually referring to something, is completed within the mind itself. Second, a univocal term in a public language is associated with a psychological state common to all competent users. It is shown how to deny both assumptions by showing that the purpose of a thinker intending a certain referent is not a psychological purpose, but a biological purpose.

Keywords: Putnam; direct reference; individual concepts; history; philosophy of language; conceptual analysis; meaning externalism; definition

Chapter.  6764 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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