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Semantics, teleological (teleosemantics)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-W039-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved March 17, 2018, from

Article Summary

Teleological/biological theories of meaning use a biological concept of function to explain how the internal states of organisms like ourselves can represent conditions in the world. These theories are controversial, as they have the consequence that an organism’s history affects the content of its present thoughts. These theories have advantages over other naturalistic theories of meaning in the task of explaining the possibility of error and unreliable representation.

Citing this article:
Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Semantics, teleological (teleosemantics), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-W039-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2018 Routledge.

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