Ruth Millikan is well known for having developed a strikingly original way for philosophers to seek understanding of mind and language, which she sees as biological phenomena. She now draws together a series of groundbreaking essays which set out her approach to language. Guiding the work of most linguists and philosophers of language today is the assumption that language is governed by prescriptive normative rules. Millikan offers a fundamentally different way of viewing the partial regularities that language displays, comparing them to biological norms that emerge from natural selection. This yields novel and quite radical consequences for our understanding of the nature of public linguistic meaning, the process of language understanding, how children learn language, and the semantics/pragmatics distinction.

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