Language: A Biological Model

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Overview

Ruth Millikan presents a radically different way of viewing the partial regularities that language displays, the norms and conventions of language. The central norms applying to language, like those norms of function and behaviour that account for the survival and proliferation of biological traits, are non-evaluative norms. Specific linguistic forms survive and are reproduced together with co-operative hearer responses because, in a critical mass of cases, these patterns of production and response benefit both speakers and hearers. Conformity is needed only often enough to ensure that the co-operative use constituting the norm - the convention - continues to be copied and hence continues to characterize some interactions of some speaker-hearer pairs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199284771
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/20/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Millikan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

1 Language conventions made simple 1
2 In defense of public language 24
3 On meaning, meaning, and meaning 53
4 The son and the daughter : on Sellars, Brandom, and Millikan 77
5 The language-thought partnership : a bird's eye view 92
6 Why (most) kinds are not classes 106
7 Cutting philosophy of language down to size 121
8 Proper function and convention in speech acts 139
9 Pushmi-pullyu representations 166
10 Semantics/pragmatics : (purposes and cross-purposes) 187
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