Ruth milikan chapters 5 and 6 in her book varieties of meaning and

Ruth milikan chapters 5 and 6 in her book varieties of meaning and critique it.


The teleologist needs a base theory of the representing relation on which to build his description of intentional representation. Fred Dretske (1986, 1988, 1995) placed his theory of natural signs and the natural information they carry at the base of his teleological theory (see chapter 3 above). Some items, Dretske claimed, have the “function” of carrying natural information, and when they do this they come to represent intentionally.

They become intentional representations, representations that can be false (Dretske 1986, 1991). Dretske’s “functions” are what I have been calling “purposes,” at least close enough for my purposes.1 If we take it that a plain representation, one that is not intentional in Brentano’s sense, is just a bearer of natural information, then Dretske’s theory of intentional representation is a neat example of a completed teleosemantic theory of the sort described in chapter 5.

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