40,000 Words in 14 Years
Ruth Garrett Millikan, Professor Emerita, University of Connecticut. Presented by Philosophy's Annual Francis W. Gramlich Lecture.
Lecture title: "40,000 Words in 14 Years"
Abstract: "From Plato’s Dialogues to modern conceptual analysis we have been told that to uncover and make explicit the true definitions even of familiar words or concepts, to articulate their criteria for application, is often very difficult. Not only are the meanings of words like “knowledge,” “information” and “representation” hard to explain, even simple words like “water” and “chair” and “bird” are argued over both by philosophers and by psychologists. Yet contemporary studies claim, for a recent example, that average fourteen year olds have already acquired about 40,000 words (not counting proper names) mostly just by hearing or reading them. I will discuss this apparent paradox."