Do inferential roles compose?

Dialectica 57 (4):431-38 (2003)
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Abstract

Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore have argued that inferential roles are not compositional. It is unclear, however, whether the theories at which they aim their objection are obliged to meet the strong compositionality requirement they have in mind. But even if that requirement is accepted, the data they adduce can in fact be derived from an inferential-role theory that meets it. Technically this is trivial, but it raises some interesting objections turning on the issue of the generality of inferential roles. I explain how those objections can be met. Whether Fodor’s and Lepore’s strong compositionality requirement is justified or not, then, inferential-role theories do not have the problem that they claim to have identified.

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Mark McCullagh
University of Guelph

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