Millikan’s Teleosemantics and Communicative Agency

In Open Mind, edited by T. Metzinger & J. Windt, MIT Press.

Abstract: Millikan’s teleosemantic approach constitutes a powerful framework for explaining the continued reproduction and proliferation of intentional conventional linguistic signs, and thereby the stability of human verbal intentional communication. While this approach needs to be complemented by particular proximate psychological mechanisms, Millikan rejects the mentalistic psychological mechanisms, which are part of the Gricean tradition in pragmatics. The goal of this paper is to assess the balance between Millikan’s teleosemantic framework and the particular proximate psychological mechanisms that she favors.