David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Erkenntnis 70 (3):299 - 311 (2009)
Realism, defined as a justified belief in the existence of the external world, is jeopardized by ‘meaning rationalism,’ the classic theory of meaning that sees the extension of words as a function of the intensions of individual speakers, with no way to ensure that these intensions actually correspond to anything in the external world. To defend realism, Ruth Millikan ( 1984 , 1989a , b , 1993 , 2004 , 2005 ) offers a biological theory of meaning called ‘teleosemantics’ in which words, without requiring any contribution from the speaker’s intensions, are supposedly matched directly with their extensions by external norms. But even if one granted as a theoretical possibility that word meaning might possibly be stabilized through an external process, nonetheless, realists who wish to appeal to teleosemantics for a semantic proof of the external world must be capable of identifying these external norms, something that Millikan describes as highly fallible. Furthermore, because they can be aware of these norms only as these are internally represented, it would also be necessary for realists to verify that these internal representations accurately reflect the norms as they occur in the external world. But given that this is virtually the same stumbling block to realism found in meaning rationalism, it is concluded that teleosemantics is not likely to restore faith in this worldview.
|Keywords||Philosophy Logic Ethics Ontology Epistemology Philosophy|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Ruth G. Millikan (1993). White Queen Psychology and Other Essays for Alice. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Ruth G. Millikan (2009). Biosemantics. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Ansgar Beckerman (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Oxford University Press 281--297.
Ruth G. Millikan (1989). In Defense of Proper Functions. Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Harold Langsam (2006). Why I Believe in an External World. Metaphilosophy 37 (5):652-672.
Naomi M. Eilan (1993). Molyneux's Question and the Idea of an External World. In Spatial Representation. Cambridge: Blackwell
Ram Neta (2003). Contextualism and the Problem of the External World. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):1–31.
Alexander Miller (2003). The Significance of Semantic Realism. Synthese 136 (2):191 - 217.
Alexander R. Pruss (2001). Śamkara's Principle and Two Ontomystical Arguments. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 49 (2):111-120.
Don Locke (1967). Perception And Our Knowledge Of The External World. Ny: Humanities Press.
Donald D. Hoffman (2003). Does Perception Replicate the External World? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (4):415-416.
Martin Smith (2011). God and the External World. Ratio 24 (1):65-77.
P. J. E. Kail (2007/2010). Projection and Realism in Hume's Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads81 ( #36,695 of 1,725,305 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #81,182 of 1,725,305 )
How can I increase my downloads?