The Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy for 2017 is awarded to Ruth Millikan, University of Connecticut, USA,
“for her groundbreaking theories about biological functions and the biological foundations of thought and language, where the representational properties of the latter are explained in terms of these functions.”
Ruth Millikan was awarded her doctorate in philosophy by Yale University in 1969, a time when very few women chose to be philosophers. She started her career working part-time at the University of Connecticut and, in these early years, laid the foundations of her ground-breaking research into biological functions and mental representation. Her most influential book, Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories (popularly called LTOBC), was published in 1984 and changed the philosophical landscape in several areas: in the philosophy of biology, in the philosophy of language and mind, and in epistemology. So far, it is the most thorough attempt to provide a naturalistic account of the human ability to represent our surroundings in language and in thought, and is the basis of a major contemporary field of research: teleosemantics. Her starting point is that since human beings are the product of evolution so must their cognitive capacities be.
Ruth Millikan was born in 1933.
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