Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Language, philosophy: language is a set of phonetic or written coded forms fixed at a time for the exchange of information or distinctions within a community whose members are able to recognize and interpret these forms as signs or symbols. In a wider sense, language is also a sign system, which can be processed by machines. See also communication, language rules, meaning, meaning change, information, signs, symbols, words, sentences, syntax, semantics, grammar, pragmatics, translation, interpretation, radical interpretation, indeterminacy.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Ruth Millikan on Language - Dictionary of Arguments

I 1
Language/Wittgenstein/Philosophical Investigations/Millikan: at the beginning of the Philosophical Investigations (PI), Wittgenstein compares words with tools.
1. Tools have functions, but tools can also be used for other purposes.
2. In the case of physical tools, the shape is usually directly tailored to it; in the case of words, the form is known to be random.
3. Although the functions of tools are extremely variable, there is a uniform way how it can be described:
A) describe the purpose
B) describe how this purpose is achieved.
I 31
Language/Reaction/Millikan: we cannot expect listeners to produce the same reactions to the same linguistic actions under the same conditions, no matter what utterances of speakers are typically produced.
Cf. >Anomalous monism
, >Communication, >Language behavior.
Language Patterns/Constance/Millikan: Thesis: Linguistic patterns are maintained or propagated because there is a kind of symbiotic partnership between speakers and listeners. Here there is a node point: certain functions correspond to both: to the purposes of the speaker and the listener.
Stabilization/standardization/Millikan: because of these common purposes of speakers and listeners speech patterns tend to stabilize and standardize.
I 142
Language/Evolution/Millikan: Language did not arise evolutionary, because that would have taken much longer.
>Language evolution.
I 239
Language/Identity/Millikan: Language has its power from the fact that it maps the world. If so, identity or selfsameness must be objective and thought-independent.
Cf. >Picture theory.
For example, there must be self-identical facts which can be mapped by different sentences.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Millikan I
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987

Millikan II
Ruth Millikan
"Varieties of Purposive Behavior", in: Anthropomorphism, Anecdotes, and Animals, R. W. Mitchell, N. S. Thomspon and H. L. Miles (Eds.) Albany 1997, pp. 189-1967
Der Geist der Tiere, D Perler/M. Wild, Frankfurt/M. 2005

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