New norms for teleosemantics

In Hugh Clapin (ed.), Representation in Mind. Elsevier. pp. 1--91 (2004)
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Teleosemantics has a problem: it holds that to have a mind one must have a history, often a long evolutionary history. The solution to the problem is for teleosemanticists to give up on natural selection as the source of natural norms (functions) for neural structures, and to find a different source of natural norms which is not essentially history-involving. Such a source in fact exists, in cybernetic governance. This paper argues for the existence of natural norms derived from cybernetic governance, parallel to natural norms derived from natural selection but distinct from them, and shows how such norms could save teleosemantics from its over-emphasis on history.

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Timothy Schroeder
Rice University


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