Mind 119 (473):43-81 (2010)

Authors
Ruth Millikan
University of Connecticut
Abstract
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 application used by individual speakers constitute definitive reference-determining intensions for their idiolect terms or associated concepts. Conventional intensions of non-basic empirical terms ultimately rest on basic empirical concepts, so no empirical meaning is found merely ‘in the head’. I discuss the nature of lexical definition, why empirical meanings cannot ultimately be modelled as functions from possible worlds to extensions, and traps into which armchair analysis of meaning can lead us. A coda explains how ‘Swampman’ examples, as used against teleosemantic theories of content, illustrate such traps
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzp157
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References found in this work BETA

Knowing One's Own Mind.Donald Davidson - 1987 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 60 (3):441-458.
A Matter of Individuality.David L. Hull - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
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Human Beings.Mark Johnston - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):59-83.

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Citations of this work BETA

Teleosemantics and Indeterminacy.Manolo Martínez - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):427-453.
One‐Person Moral Twin Earth Cases.Neil Sinhababu - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):16-22.

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