Brandom's Inferentialist Theory and the Meaning Entitlement Connection

In Hamdi Mlika (ed.), Lectures de Robert Brandom. Edilivre. pp. 51-90 (2018)
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According to Brandom’s conceptual role semantics, to grasp a concept involves a commitment to drawing certain inferences. This is a consequence of the inferentialist thesis that the meaning of a term is given by its justification through assertibility conditions. Inferential commitments come out from a material notion of inference which underwrites human rational discourse and activity. In this paper I discuss a problem of Brandom’s semantics allegedly exposed in an argument by Paul Boghossian against Dummett’s and Brandom’s substantive conception of meaning. I contend that Boghossian’s analysis is dubious because it overlooks an important difference between Dummett’s and Brandom’s positions related respectively to a monotonic and a non-monotonic view of the norm underwriting meaning.
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