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Ruth Millikan
University of Connecticut
  1. Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1984 - 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. Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1984 - Behaviorism 14 (1):51-56.
     
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  3. White Queen Psychology and Other Essays for Alice.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1993 - MIT Press.
    This collection of essays serves both as an introduction to Ruth Millikan’s much-discussed volume Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories and as an extension and application of Millikan’s central themes, especially in the philosophy of psychology. The title essay discusses meaning rationalism and argues that rationality is not in the head, indeed, that there is no legitimate interpretation under which logical possibility and necessity are known a priori. In other essays, Millikan clarifies her views on the nature of mental representation, (...)
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  4. In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - 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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  5. Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2004 - 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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  6. On Clear and Confused Ideas: An Essay About Substance Concepts.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2000 - 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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  7. Biosemantics.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (July):281-97.
  8. Language: A Biological Model.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2005 - 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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  9. Beyond Concepts: Unicepts, Language, and Natural Information.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Ruth Garrett Millikan presents a strikingly original account of how we get to grips with the world in thought. Her question is Kant's 'How is knowledge possible?', answered from a contemporary naturalist standpoint. We begin with an understanding of what the world is like prior to cognition, then develop a theory of cognition within that world.
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  10. Pushmi-Pullyu Representations.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1995 - 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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  11. Thoughts Without Laws: Cognitive Science with Content.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1986 - Philosophical Review 95 (January):47-80.
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    A Theory of Content and Other Essays.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1990 - Philosophical Review 101 (4):898-901.
  13. Historical Kinds and the "Special Sciences".Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1999 - 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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  14. A Common Structure for Concepts of Individuals, Stuffs, and Real Kinds: More Mama, More Milk, and More Mouse.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1997 - 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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  15. Truth, Rules, Hoverflies, and the Kripke-Wittgenstein Paradox.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1990 - Philosophical Review 99 (3):323-53.
  16. Naturalist Reflections on Knowledge.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1984 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 65 (4):315.
     
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  17. Varieties of Meaning: The 2002 Jean Nicod Lectures.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3):674-681.
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  18.  52
    Neuroscience and teleosemantics.Ruth Garrett Millikan - forthcoming - Synthese:1-9.
    Correctly understood, teleosemantics is the claim that “representation” is a function term. Things are called “representations” if they have a certain kind of function or telos and perform it in a certain kind of way. This claim is supported with a discussion and proposals about the function of a representation and of how representations perform that function. These proposals have been retrieved by putting together current descriptions from the literature on neural representations with earlier explorations of the features common to (...)
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  19. On Swampkinds.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1996 - 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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  20. The Myth of the Essential Indexical.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1990 - Noûs 24 (5):723-734.
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  21.  34
    Meaning and Mental Representation.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):422.
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  22.  16
    A Theory of Content and Other Essays.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (4):898.
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  23. Styles of Rationality.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2006 - In Susan 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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  24. Compare and Contrast Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan on Teleosemantics.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1990 - Philosophical Topics 18 (2):151-61.
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    Wings, Spoons, Pills, and Quills: A Pluralist Theory of Function.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):191-206.
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  26.  29
    Language Conventions Made Simple.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1998 - Journal of Philosophy 95 (4):161.
  27. The Father, the Son, and the Daughter: Sellars, Brandom, and Millikan.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2005 - 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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  28. Language Conventions Made Simple.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1998 - 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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  29.  20
    With Commentary.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (2):172.
  30. Biosemantics and Words That Don't Represent.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2018 - Theoria 84 (3):229-241.
  31. An Input Condition for Teleosemantics? Reply to Shea (and Godfrey-Smith).Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2007 - 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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  32. Are There Mental Indexicals and Demonstratives?Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):217-234.
  33. What has Natural Information to Do with Intentional Representation?Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2001 - In D. Walsh (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press. pp. 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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  34. A Difference of Some Consequence Between Conventions and Rules.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2008 - 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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  35.  35
    What has Natural Information to Do with Intentional Representation?Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2001 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 49:105-125.
    ‘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.’ There is, indeed, a form of informational semantics that has this verificationist implication. The original definition of information given in Dretske'sKnowledge and the Flow of Information, when employed as a base for a theory of intentional representation or ‘content,’ has this implication. I will argue that, in fact, most of (...)
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  36.  40
    Seismograph Readings for Explaining Behavior.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1990 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (4):807-812.
  37. On Reading Signs; Some Differences Between Us and The Others.Ruth Garrett Millikan - unknown
    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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  38.  60
    On Unclear and Indistinct Ideas.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:75-100.
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    Response to Boyd's Commentary.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):99-102.
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  40.  65
    Knowing What I'm Thinking Of.Ruth Garrett Millikan & Andrew Woodfield - 1993 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 67 (1):91-124.
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    Naturalizing Intentionality.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 9:83-90.
    “Intentionality,” as introduced to modern philosophy by Brentano, denotes the property that distinguishes the mental from all other things. As such, intentionality has been related to purposiveness. I suggest, however, that there are many kinds of purposes that are not mental nor derived from anything mental, 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. These purposes help us to understand intentionality in a naturalistic way. (...)
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  42.  63
    Metaphysical Anti-Realism?Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1986 - Mind 95 (380):417-431.
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  43.  33
    Reply to Bermúdez. [REVIEW]Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3):670–673.
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    It is Likely Misbelief Never has a Function.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):529-530.
    I highlight and amplify three central points that McKay & Dennett (M&D) make about the origin of failures to perform biologically proper functions. I question whether even positive illusions meet criteria for evolved misbelief.
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  45. Representations, Targets and Attitudes.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):103-111.
  46. II—Ruth Garrett Millikan: Loosing the Word–Concept Tie.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2011 - 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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  47. Troubles with Plantinga’s Reading of Millikan.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2):454-456.
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  48.  51
    Learning Language.Ruth Garrett Millikan - unknown
    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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  49.  51
    The Price of Correspondence Truth.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1986 - Noûs 20 (4):453-468.
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    Cutting Philosophy of Language Down to Size.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 2001 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 48:125-140.
    When asked to contribute to this lecture series, my first thought was to talk about philosophy of biology, a new and increasingly influential field in philosophy, surely destined to have great impact in the coming years. But when a preliminary schedule for the series was circulated, I noticed that no one was speaking on language. Given the hegemony of philosophy of language at mid-century, after ‘the linguistic turn’, this seemed to require comment. How did philosophy of language achieve such status (...)
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