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Definition intentional icon/intentional icons/Millikan: intentional icons are patterns that are "good for something", that are "supposed to". They are there to be interpreted by a co-operation partner. For example, bee dance.
Aboutness/Millikan: thus they show a kind of "aboutness" about "about" being something.
For example, everything we call signs are intentional icons.
Theorem: but not all the features of sentences are shown by intentional icons. Some are only held by sentences. E.g. Subject-predicate structure.
Definition Representation/Millikan: representations are intentional icons whose mapping rules are identified by the interpretation partners.
E.g. bee dance: it is hardly imaginable that bees really identify this.
Sentence/intentional icons/Millikan: there are 4 characteristics according to which indicative and imperative sentences are intentional icons:
1. A sentence is an element of a family (reproductively determined family, rfF). For example, a sentence is an element of a family of sentences with the same surface structure.
2. A sentence usually stands between...
...two cooperating devices: producer and interpreter.
3. The sentence serves that the interpreter can adapt to normal conditions and eigenfunctions that can be exercised under these conditions.
4.a. Imperative: here it is an eigenfunction of the interpreter to produce the conditions himself to which the sentence is mapped.
4.b. Indicative: here the normal conditions refer to which the interpreter adapts in such a way that he can exert his eigenfunction on the fact that the sentence maps the conditions to the world.
Definition intentional icon/Millikan: we do not know yet "of what" it is! We determine:
(1) P is an imperative intentional icon of the last element of a series of things on which it has to map itself and which it is to produce.
(2) P is an indicative intentional icon of all that it must map and which must be stated in the specification of the closest normal explanation explaining the appropriate adapted interpretation.
1. E.g. P is an imperative intentional icon of either the output pattern or (more likely) something behind it, for example, an aspect of the visual perception that P produces at the end and on which P is to be mapped.
2. E.g. P is an indicative intentional icon not of a retinal stimulus pattern but of an aspect of the world to which it adapts the interpreter to. For the next explanation of how the interpreter fullfills his eigenfunction, it is only necessary to mention that some variables have been mapped in the environment. For example, the explanation of why the heart is pumping blood does not need to mention how oxygen supplied to the muscle.
E.g. It does not have to be explained how historically the mapping relation came about.
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987