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Profile: Ruth Garrett Millikan (University of Connecticut)
  1. Ruth G. Millikan (1984). Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories. MIT Press.
    Preface by Daniel C. Dennett Beginning with a general theory of function applied to body organs, behaviors, customs, and both inner and outer representations, ...
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  2. Ruth G. Millikan (1993). White Queen Psychology and Other Essays for Alice. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  3.  66
    Ruth G. Millikan (2004). Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures. MIT Press.
    How the various things that are said to have meaning—purpose, natural signs, linguistic signs, perceptions, and thoughts—are related to one another.
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  4. Ruth G. Millikan (2009). Biosemantics. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Ansgar Beckerman (eds.), Journal of Philosophy. Oxford University Press 281--297.
    " 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. 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 " (...)
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  5.  40
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (2000). On Clear and Confused Ideas: An Essay About Substance Concepts. Cambridge University Press.
    Written by one of today's most creative and innovative philosophers, Ruth Garrett Millikan, this book examines basic empirical concepts; how they are acquired, how they function, and how they have been misrepresented in the traditional philosophical literature. Millikan places cognitive psychology in an evolutionary context where human cognition is assumed to be an outgrowth of primitive forms of mentality, and assumed to have 'functions' in the biological sense. Of particular interest are her discussions of the nature of abilities as different (...)
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  6. Ruth G. Millikan (1989). In Defense of Proper Functions. Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
    I defend the historical definition of "function" originally given in my Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories (1984a). The definition was not offered in the spirit of conceptual analysis but is more akin to a theoretical definition of "function". A major theme is that nonhistorical analyses of "function" fail to deal adequately with items that are not capable of performing their functions.
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  7.  80
    Ruth G. Millikan (2005). Language: A Biological Model. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    Ruth Millikan is well known for having developed a strikingly original way for philosophers to seek understanding of mind and language, which she sees as biological phenomena. She now draws together a series of groundbreaking essays which set out her approach to language. Guiding the work of most linguists and philosophers of language today is the assumption that language is governed by prescriptive normative rules. Millikan offers a fundamentally different way of viewing the partial regularities that language displays, comparing them (...)
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  8.  63
    Ruth G. Millikan (1986). Thoughts Without Laws: Cognitive Science with Content. Philosophical Review 95 (January):47-80.
  9. Ruth G. Millikan (1989). Biosemantics. Journal of Philosophy 86 (July):281-97.
  10. Ruth G. Millikan (1999). Historical Kinds and the "Special Sciences". Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):45-65.
    There are no "special sciences" in Fodor's sense. There is a large group of sciences, "historical sciences," that differ fundamentally from the physical sciences because they quantify over a different kind of natural or real kind, nor are the generalizations supported by these kinds exceptionless. Heterogeneity, however, is not characteristic of these kinds. That there could be an univocal empirical science that ranged over multiple realizations of a functional property is quite problematic. If psychological predicates name multiply realized functionalist properties, (...)
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  11. Ruth G. Millikan (1995). Pushmi-Pullyu Representations. Philosophical Perspectives 9:185-200.
    A list of groceries, Professor Anscombe once suggested, might be used as a shopping list, telling what to buy, or it might be used as an inventory list, telling what has been bought (Anscombe 1957). If used as a shopping list, the world is supposed to conform to the representation: if the list does not match what is in the grocery bag, it is what is in the bag that is at fault. But if used as an inventory list, the (...)
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  12. Ruth G. Millikan (2010). On Knowing the Meaning; With a Coda on Swampman. Mind 119 (473):43-81.
    I give an analysis of how empirical terms do their work in communication and the gathering of knowledge that is fully externalist and that covers the full range of empirical terms. It rests on claims about ontology. A result is that armchair analysis fails as a tool for examining meanings of ‘basic’ empirical terms because their meanings are not determined by common methods or criteria of application passed from old to new users, by conventionally determined ‘intensions’. Nor do methods of (...)
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  13.  22
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1998). A Common Structure for Concepts of Individuals, Stuffs, and Real Kinds: More Mama, More Milk, and More Mouse. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):55-65.
    Concepts are highly theoretical entities. One cannot study them empirically without committing oneself to substantial preliminary assumptions. Among the competing theories of concepts and categorization developed by psychologists in the last thirty years, the implicit theoretical assumption that what falls under a concept is determined by description () has never been seriously challenged. I present a nondescriptionist theory of our most basic concepts, which include (1) stuffs (gold, milk), (2) real kinds (cat, chair), and (3) individuals (Mama, Bill Clinton, the (...)
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  14. Ruth G. Millikan, On Reading Signs.
    On Reading Signs; Some Differences between Us and The Others If there are certain kinds of signs that an animal cannot learn to interpret, that might be for any of a number of reasons. It might be, first, because the animal cannot discriminate the signs from one another. For example, although human babies learn to discriminate human speech sounds according to the phonological structures of their native languages very easily, it may be that few if any other animals are capable (...)
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  15. Ruth G. Millikan (1990). Truth, Rules, Hoverflies, and the Kripke-Wittgenstein Paradox. Philosophical Review 99 (3):323-53.
  16. Ruth G. Millikan (1996). On Swampkinds. Mind and Language 11 (1):103-17.
    Suppose lightning strikes a dead tree in a swamp; I am standing nearby. My body is reduced to its elements, while entirely by coincidence (and out of different molecules) the tree is turned into my physical replica. My replica, The Swampman.....moves into my house and seems to write articles on radical interpretation. No one can tell the difference.
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  17.  48
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (2012). Are There Mental Indexicals and Demonstratives? Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):217-234.
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  18.  8
    Ruth G. Millikan (2006). Styles of Rationality. In Susan L. Hurley & Matthew Nudds (eds.), Rational Animals? Oxford University Press
    By whatever general principles and mechanisms animal behavior is governed, human behavior control rides piggyback on top of the same or very similar mechanisms. We have reflexes. We can be conditioned. The movements that make up our smaller actions are mostly caught up in perception-action cycles following perceived Gibsonian affordances. Still, without doubt there are levels of behavior control that are peculiar to humans. Following Aristotle, tradition has it that what is added in humans is rationality ("rational soul"). Rationality, however, (...)
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  19.  82
    Ruth G. Millikan (2007). An Input Condition for Teleosemantics? Reply to Shea (and Godfrey-Smith). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):436-455.
    In his essay "Consumers Need Information: Supplementing Teleosemantics with an Input Condition" (this issue) Nicholas Shea argues, with support from the work of Peter Godfrey-Smith (1996), that teleosemantics, as David Papinau and I have articulated it, cannot explain why "content attribution can be used to explain successful behavior." This failure is said to result from defining the intentional contents of representations by reference merely to historically normal conditions for success of their "outputs," that is, of their uses by interpreting or (...)
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  20.  48
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1999). Wings, Spoons, Pills, and Quills: A Pluralist Theory of Function. Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):191-206.
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  21. Ruth G. Millikan (1990). Compare and Contrast Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan on Teleosemantics. Philosophical Topics 18 (2):151-61.
  22.  3
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1987). Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism. Noûs 21 (3):430-434.
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  23. Ruth G. Millikan (2005). The Father, the Son, and the Daughter: Sellars, Brandom, and Millikan. Pragmatics and Cognition 13 (1):59-71.
    The positions of Brandom and Millikan are compared with respect to their common origins in the works of Wilfrid Sellars and Wittgenstein. Millikan takes more seriously the ¿picturing¿ themes from Sellars and Wittgenstein. Brandom follows Sellars more closely in deriving the normativity of language from social practice, although there are also hints of a possible derivation from evolutionary theory in Sellars. An important claim common to Brandom and Millikan is that there are no representations without function or ¿attitude¿.
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  24.  29
    Ruth Garrett Millikan, Learning Language.
    Many students of pragmatics and child language have come to believe that in order to learn a language a child must first have a 'theory of mind,' a grasp that speakers mentally represent the content they would convey when they speak. This view is reinforced by the Gricean theory of communication, according to which speakers intend their words to cause hearers to believe or to do certain things and hearers must recognize these intentions if they are to comply. The view (...)
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  25.  74
    Ruth Garrett Millikan, On Reading Signs; Some Differences Between Us and The Others.
    On Reading Signs; Some Differences between Us and The Others If there are certain kinds of signs that an animal cannot learn to interpret, that might be for any of a number of reasons. It might be, first, because the animal cannot discriminate the signs from one another. For example, although human babies learn to discriminate human speech sounds according to the phonological structures of their native languages very easily, it may be that few if any other animals are capable (...)
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  26. Ruth Garrett Millikan (2011). Loosing the Word–Concept Tie. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1):125-143.
    Sainsbury and Tye (2011) propose that, in the case of names and other simple extensional terms, we should substitute for Frege's second level of content—for his senses—a second level of meaning vehicle—words in the language of thought. I agree. They also offer a theory of atomic concept reference—their ‘originalist’ theory—which implies that people knowing the same word have the ‘same concept’. This I reject, arguing for a symmetrical rather than an originalist theory of concept reference, claiming that individual concepts are (...)
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  27. Ruth G. Millikan (2006). Useless Content. In Graham F. Macdonald & David Papineau (eds.), Teleosemantics. Oxford University Press
     
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  28. Ruth G. Millikan (1991). Speaking Up for Darwin. In Barry M. Loewer & Georges Rey (eds.), Meaning in Mind: Fodor and His Critics. Blackwell 151-164.
  29.  79
    Ruth G. Millikan (2002). Biofunctions: Two Paradigms. In Andre Ariew (ed.), Functions. Oxford University Press 113-143.
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  30. Ruth Garrett Millikan (1984). Naturalist Reflections on Knowledge. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 65 (4):315.
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  31.  69
    Ruth G. Millikan (1991). Perceptual Content and Fregean Myth. Mind 100 (399):439-459.
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  32.  1
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1989). With Commentary. Biology and Philosophy 4 (2):172.
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  33. Ruth G. Millikan (2000). Naturalizing Intentionality. In Bernard Elevitch (ed.), The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy. Philosopy Documentation Center 83-90.
    Brentano was surely mistaken, however, in thinking that bearing a relation to something nonexistent marks only the mental. Given any sort of purpose, it might not get fulfilled, hence might exhibit Brentano's relation, and there are many natural purposes, such as the purpose of one's stomach to digest food or the purpose of one's protective eye blink reflex to keep out the sand, that are not mental, nor derived from anything mental. Nor are stomachs and reflexes "of" or"about" anything. A (...)
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  34.  79
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1998). Language Conventions Made Simple. Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):161-180.
    At the start of Convention (1969) Lewis says that it is "a platitude that language is ruled by convention" and that he proposes to give us "an analysis of convention in its full generality, including tacit convention not created by agreement." Almost no clause, however, of Lewis's analysis has withstood the barrage of counter examples over the years,1 and a glance at the big dictionary suggests why, for there are a dozen different senses listed there. Left unfettered, convention wanders freely (...)
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  35.  95
    Ruth G. Millikan (2003). In Defense of Public Language. In Louise M. Antony & H. Hornstein (eds.), Chomsky and His Critics. Blackwell
    ....a notion of 'common, public language' that remains mysterious...useless for any form of theoretical explanation....There is simply no way of making sense of this prong of the externalist theory of meaning and language, as far as I can see, or of any of the work in theory of meaning and philosophy of language that relies on such notions, a statement that is intended to cut rather a large swath. (Chomsky 1995, pp. 48-9) It is a striking fact that despite the (...)
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  36. Ruth G. Millikan (1998). A More Plausible Kind of "Recognitional Concept". Philosophical Issues 9:35-41.
    It's a sort of moebus strip argument. Rather than circularly assuming what it should prove, it assumes one of the things Fodor says he has disproved. It assumes that the extensions of those concepts thought by some to be recognitional are in fact controlled by stereotypes. Why do I say that? Because Fodor assumes that what makes an instance of a concept a "good instance" is that it is an average instance, that it sports the properties statistically most commonly found (...)
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    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1999). Response to Boyd's Commentary. Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):99-102.
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  38.  69
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (1990). The Myth of the Essential Indexical. Noûs 24 (5):723-734.
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  39.  95
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (2008). A Difference of Some Consequence Between Conventions and Rules. Topoi 27 (1-2):87-99.
    Lewis’s view of the way conventions are passed on may have some especially interesting consequences for the study of language. I’ll start by briefly discussing agreements and disagreements that I have with Lewis’s general views on conventions and then turn to how linguistic conventions spread. I’ll compare views of main stream generative linguistics, in particular, Chomsky’s views on how syntactic forms are passed on, with the sort of view of language acquisition and language change advocated by usage-based or construction grammars, (...)
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  40.  16
    Ruth G. Millikan (1990). Seismograph Readings for Explaining Behavior. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (4):807-812.
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  41. Ruth G. Millikan (2001). What has Natural Information to Do with Intentional Representation? In D. Walsh (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press 105-125.
    "According to informational semantics, if it's necessary that a creature can't distinguish Xs from Ys, it follows that the creature can't have a concept that applies to Xs but not Ys." (Jerry Fodor, The Elm and the Expert, p.32).
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  42.  85
    Ruth G. Millikan (1997). A Common Structure for Concepts of Individuals, Stuffs, and Kinds: More Mama, More Milk, and More Mouse. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):55-65.
    Concepts are highly theoretical entities. One cannot study them empirically without committing oneself to substantial preliminary assumptions. Among the competing theories of concepts and categorization developed by psychologists in the last thirty years, the implicit theoretical assumption that what falls under a concept is determined by description (descriptionism) has never been seriously challenged. I present a nondescriptionist theory of our most basic concepts, substances, which include (1) stuffs (gold, milk), (2) real kinds (cat, chair), and (3) individuals (Mama, Bill Clinton, (...)
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  43. Ruth G. Millikan (1993). Explanation in Biopsychology. In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press
  44.  71
    Ruth G. Millikan (2000). Reading Mother Nature's Mind. In Don Ross, Andrew Brook & David L. Thompson (eds.), Dennett's Philosophy: A Comprehensive Assessment. MIT Press
    I try to focus our differences by examining the relation between what Dennett has termed "the intentional stance" and "the design stance." Dennett takes the intentional stance to be more basic than the design stance. Ultimately it is through the eyes of the intentional stance that both human and natural design are interpreted, hence there is always a degree of interpretive freedom in reading the mind, the purposes, both of Nature and of her children. The reason, or at least a (...)
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  45. Ruth G. Millikan (1993). Spatial Representation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
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  46.  63
    Ruth Garrett Millikan (2013). Troubles with Plantinga's Reading of Millikan. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2):454-456.
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  47. Ruth G. Millikan (1997). On Cognitive Luck: Externalism in an Evolutionary Frame. In P. Machamer & M. Carrier (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press and Universtaetsverlag Konstanz
    Steven Pinker (1995) chides the educated layman for imagining Darwin's theory to go this way (the vertical lines are "begats"): [Figure #1] Pinker says, "evolution did not make a ladder; it made a bush" (p. 343), and he gives us the following diagrams instead, showing how it went, in increasing detail, down to us.
     
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  48. Ruth Millikan (2009). Embedded Rationality. In Murat Aydede & P. Robbins (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Situated Cognition. Cambridge 171--183.
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  49.  78
    Ruth G. Millikan (2000). Representations, Targets and Attitudes. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):103-111.
  50. Ruth G. Millikan (1995). Reply: A Bet with Peacocke. In C. Macdonald (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology: Debates on Psychological Explanation. Cambridge: Blackwell
     
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