Pushmi-pullyu Representations<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:
 						Pushmi-pullyu Representations*

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Pushmi-pullyu representations (P-PRs) are in one breath both descriptive and directive, the simplest being animal’s signals to conspecifics, such as danger signals and mating displays. P-PRs also appear in human language: “No Johnny, we don’t eat peas with our fingers”; “The meeting is (hereby) adjourned”. Human intentions are P-PRS in thought, as are perceptual representations representing affordances. Inner representations of the social roles that we play as we play them are P-PRS, as we fall into doing “what one does”. These primitive ways of thinking are an essential glue holding human societies together.

Keywords: speech acts; performatives; animal signals; inner representations; affordances; directives; intentions

Chapter.  7582 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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