Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Millikan, Ruth
Books on Amazon
Facts I 104
Facts/Real value/Millikan: the real value of a sentence is the fact in the world.
Wrong sentence/correspondence/Millikan: here the singular term has an indirect, "piggyback" - relation to its referent.
N.B.: but this is not the relation of a "should-be-like-that".
Correspondence: takes place only in true sentences.
Normal relation/E.g. Unicorn/Millikan: (in the wrong sentence > non-existence) the "should-correspond" is not correspondence, but the possession of meaning! Its referring is its having a certain kind of meaning or sense.
I 222
Negative fact/Millikan: we must be able to show that a negative act is still something else than the non-existence of a positive fact. And we cannot do that. We just moved around in circles.
Non-existent fact/Millikan: a non-existent fact cannot be an object of an icon and not an object of a representation.
Negative fact/Millikan: a negative would then have to be something other than a non-existent fact.
N.B.: but if we can show that, we do not even have to accept that "non-p" says "that p does not exist".
Negative sentence/image/fact/negation/Millikan: what I then have to assert is that negative sentences represent actual and/or existing world states (facts).
It is well known how to do this:
Negation/solution: one simply says that the negation is only applied to the logical predicate of the sentence ((s) inner negation). In doing so, the meaning of the predicate is changed, so that the predicate applies (maps) to the opposite as it usually does.
I 223
This can then also be extended to more complex sentences with external negation:
E.g. "No A is φ" becomes "Every A is non-φ".
MilllikanVs: the difficulties with this approach are also well-known:
1. Problem: how to interpret the function of "not" in very simple sentences of the form "x is not" E.g. "Pegasus is not (pause)" Here "not" can be interpreted as operating over predicates! Sentences of the form "x is not" are, of course, equivalent to sentences of the form "x does not exist".
Problem: we have said that "exists" is not a representation. Thus "not" cannot be interpreted as always operating on a predicate of a representative sentence.
For example, "Cicero is not Brutus" cannot operate on a logical predicate of the sentence, since simple identity sentences have no logical predicate. So "not" has to have other functions.
Problem: In which relations do these different functions stand together? For we should assume that "not" does not have different meanings in different contexts.
I 226
Negative Facts/Imperative/Indicative/Not/Negation/Millikan: E.g. "do not do A" has the eigenfunction to produce the same state as the one which would make the indicative sentence "H did not do A" true.
Making true: So, it is a question of creating a state that makes a sentence true.
Millikan: It is not a question of producing non-existent things, but of creating existential things.
E.g. "John did not go to the office". This is not a question of whether one has not an opinion in the end whether John is going to the office.
Negative Belief/Millikan: if a negative belief exists in this context, it must have a positive function.
Conversely, John has done something that was contrary to going to the office.
Alternative/Negation/Millikan: there is a structured space of alternatives, in which John necessarily acts.
Alternatives/complexity: the less complex they are described, the less their number.
Negative fact/negation/not/Millikan: thesis: if something is not the case, that means something else is the case.
E.g. to obey a negative command must be something that could have also caused a positive action.
But positive facts cause positive states. So that something is not the case,...
I 227
...must always correspond to the fact that something else is the case.
Otherwise we could not explain how negative intentions can be executed.
Belief/conviction/real value: here it is parallel: intentions cause their real values. Conversely, real values of beliefs cause beliefs, e.g. because John's jacket is brown, I believed that John's jacket is brown.
Negative belief: correspondingly: real value of belief that John's jacket is not red must be the belief that it is not red, or - more specifically - brown. But I do not assure myself of this by not seeing the jacket, but by seeing that the jacket has a different color.
Opposite/Millikan: only properties and relations have opposites but these are not absolute. There must be a common foundation. We should assume that "not" has not different meanings in different contexts.
I 257
Negative sentence/Millikan: a negative sentence forms a positive fact (world state), not the absence of a fact.

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

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-24