Biosemantics

In Brian P. McLaughlin & Ansgar Beckerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press. 281--297 (2009)
Abstract
"Biosemantics" was the title of a paper on mental representation originally printed in The Journal of Philosophy in 1989. It contained a much abbreviated version of the work on mental representation in Language Thought and Other Biological Categories (1984). There I had presented a naturalist theory of intentional signs generally, including linguistic representations, graphs, charts and diagrams, road sign symbols, animal communications, the "chemical signals" that regulate the function of glands, and so forth. But the term "biosemantics" has usually been applied only to the theory of mental representation. Let me first characterize a more general class of theories called "teleological theories of mental content" of which biosemantics is an example. Then I will discuss the details that distinguish biosemantics from other naturalistic teleological theories.
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