Teleosemantics and Productivity
There has been much discussion of so-called teleosemantic approaches to the naturalisation of
content. Such discussion, though, has been largely confined to simple, innate mental states with
contents such as There is a fly here. Even assuming we can solve the issues that crop up at this
stage, an account of the content of human mental states will not get too far without an account of
productivity: the ability to entertain indefinitely many thoughts.
The best-known teleosemantic theory, Millikan’s biosemantics, offers an account of productivity in
thought. This paper raises a basic worry about this account: that the use of mapping functions in the
theory is unacceptable from a naturalistic point of view.
It’d be cool to know what you guys think about it!