Article/Publication Details

The Minimalistic Definition of Conventions: One Step beyond Millikan’s Approach

(Original title: The Minimalistic Definition of Conventions: One Step beyond Millikan’s Approach)
Organon F, 2015, vol. 22, No 3, pp. 378-394.
Language: English
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The study proposes a new approach towards a social phenomenon called convention and submits a minimalistic definition of convention, which provides a promising basis for future analysis unburdened by contra-Lewisian objections. The definition itself, based on the insights of Ruth Millikan in the study Language Conventions Made Simple, represents a simple and efficient means of delimiting essential components of conventional behaviour (stripped of most of the controversial issues from previous debates on Lewis’s notion) solely by means of the role of precedent and its ability to reproduce. Yet, it is argued that a few additional conditions are required for a valid and distinct notion of conventionality: namely, the inclusion of a coordination aspect and an extension of the concept of precedent. The final version of the definition, thereafter, meets intuitive requirements of conventionality (e.g., arbitrariness) and has the generality to embrace different types of conventions.


Convention, coordination, minimalistic definition, precedent, reproduction

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