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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.
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.
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.
Language/Evolution/Millikan: Language did not arise evolutionary, because that would have taken much longer.
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.
For example, there must be self-identical facts which can be mapped by different sentences.
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987