Southwest Philosophy Review 35 (1):59-68 (2019)

Mark Bauer
University of Colorado Denver
A core feature of teleosemantic proposals has been to rely on selective history to justify semantic functional classification. Recently, Nanay and Bauer have offered ahistorical teleosemantic proposals intended to bypass the numerous criticisms arising from the dependence on history. However, part of the attraction of the traditional reliance on history is that it seemingly allowed teleosemantics to mesh with biological practice. For example, Millikan, a key advocate for the selective historical approach, argues that biological kind identity rests on historical relations. That would seem to place ahistorical teleosemantics directly at odds with biological practice. I suggest that ahistorical teleosemantics need not conflict with biological practice. This reflects the fact that biological inquiry combines two complimentary explanatory strategies, essentialist and populational reasoning. The complementary character of these strategies allows ahistorical teleosemantics, as an instance of essentialism, to integrate with populational reasoning without conflict.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Essentialism  Teleosemantics  Ahistorical teleosemantics
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview20193516
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