Ruth G. Millikan
Unicepts, Language, and Natural Information
Oxford University Press 2018
Kant famously asked the question, how is knowledge possible? In her new book, Beyond Concepts: Unicepts, Language, and Natural Information (Oxford University Press, 2018), Ruth Garrett Millikan responds to this question from a naturalistic, and specifically evolutionary, perspective. Millikan, who is distinguished professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, has long been a leading figure in theorizing about language and thought. Her latest work considers the “clumpy” world that organisms confront and the problem of how we recognizing the same distal objects and properties again, as well as their kinds and categories. Our cognizing machinery includes unitrackers, whose job it is to track these items and channel information of the same item to one place, called a unicept. Although each of us has distinct unitrackers and unicepts, they can be attached to the same word in a public language, which itself is a lineage of reproduced signs.