On Distinguishing the Meaningless from the Meaningful: An Evolutionary Game Theoretic Approach to Ruth Millikan\'s Teleosemantics
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What distinguishes a meaningless utterance from a meaningful term? While one might say that, within the context of Ruth Millikan\'s teleosemantics, it is a term\'s having a proper function that distinguishes it from a meaningless utterance, I propose that the distinction can be made with reference to the history of the term. Using evolutionary game theory, I offer a way to clarify the distinction between the meaningless and the meaningful. I reject the possibility of correlating meaning with an evolutionarily stable strategy as this does not seem to be consistent with how communication works or with Millikan\'s theory. Instead, when a term has meaning, the function category of that term corresponds to an evolutionarily stable state composed of both speaker and hearer strategies.
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