In Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Language. Wiley Blackwell. pp. 197-224 (2017)
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This article offers an overview of inferential role semantics. We aim to provide a map of the terrain as well as challenging some of the inferentialist’s standard commitments. We begin by introducing inferentialism and placing it into the wider context of contemporary philosophy of language. §2 focuses on what is standardly considered both the most important test case for and the most natural application of inferential role semantics: the case of the logical constants. We discuss some of the (alleged) benefits of logical inferentialism, chiefly with regards to the epistemology of logic, and consider a number of objections. §3 introduces and critically examines the most influential and most fully developed form of global inferentialism: Robert Brandom’s inferentialism about linguistic and conceptual content in general. Finally, in §4 we consider a number of general objections to IRS and consider possible responses on the inferentialist’s behalf.
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