Inferentialism is a philosophical approach premised on the claim that an item of language (or thought) acquires meaning (or content) in virtue of being embedded in an intricate set of social practices normatively governed by inferential rules. Inferentialism found its paradigmatic formulation in Robert Brandom’s landmark book Making it Explicit, and over the last two decades it has established itself as one of the leading research programs in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of logic. While Brandom’s version of inferentialism has received wide attention in the philosophical literature, thinkers friendly to inferentialism have proposed and developed new lines of inquiry that merit wider recognition and critical appraisal.
From Rules to Meaning brings together new essays that systematically develop, compare, assess and critically react to some of the most pertinent recent trends in inferentialism. The book’s four thematic sections seek to apply inferentialism to a number of core issues, including the nature of meaning and content, reconstructing semantics, rule-oriented models and explanations of social practices and inferentialism’s historical influence and dialogue with other philosophical traditions. With contributions from a number of distinguished philosophers—including Robert Brandom and Jaroslav Peregrin—this volume is a major contribution to the philosophical literature on the foundations of logic and language.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Inferentialism’s Years of Travel and Its Logico-Philosophical Calling Ladislav Koreň and Vojtěch Kolman
Part I: Language and Meaning
1. Grounding Assertion and Acceptance in Mental Imagery Christopher Gauker
2. Semantics: Why Rules Ought to Matter Hans-Johann Glock
3. Quine Peregrinating: Norms, Dispositions, and Analyticity Gary Kemp
4. Let’s Admit Defeat: Assertion, Denial, and Retraction Bernhard Weiss
Part II: Logic and Semantics
5. Inferentialism, Structure, and Conservativeness Ole Hjortland and Shawn Standefer
6. From Logical Expressivism to Expressivist Logics: Sketch of a Program and Some Implementations Robert Brandom
7. Inferentialist-Expressivism for Explanatory Vocabulary Jared Millson, Kareem Khalifa, and Mark Risjord
8. Logical Expressivism and Logical Relations Lionel Shapiro
9. Propositional Contents and the Logical Space Ladislav Koreň
10. Assertion, Inference, and the Conditional Peter Milne
Part III: Rules, Agency, and Explanation
11. Natural Cultural Inferentialism Joseph Rouse
12. Inferentialism: Where Do We Go from Here? Jaroslav Peregrin
13. The Nature and Diversity of Rules Vladimír Svoboda
14. Governed by Rules, or Subjects to Rules? Ondřej Beran
Part IV: History and Present
15. Inferentialism after Kant Danielle Macbeth
16. Inferentialism, Naturalism, and the Ought-To-Be’s of Perceptual Cognition James O’Shea
17. Inferentialism and Its Mathematical Precursor Vojtěch Kolman
18. Inferentialism and the Reception of Testimony Leila Haaparanta
Ondřej Beran is a researcher, currently based at the Centre for Ethics (University of Pardubice). His publications, ongoing work, and areas of research interest include the philosophy of language, ethics, the philosophy of religion, and feminist philosophy. He has also translated some of Wittgenstein’s works into Czech.
Vojtěch Kolman is Associate Professor of Logic at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. His research focuses mainly on themes from the philosophy of mathematics, the history of logic, pragmatism, and the philosophy of the arts. He is author of the book Zahlen and numerous articles in international journals (Synthese, Erkenntnis, Hegel-Bulletin, Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie and others).
Ladislav Koreň is the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Hradec Králové and a researcher at the Czech Academy of Sciences. His areas of interest include epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of social sciences. His publications include research articles in international journals (Synthese, Journal of Social Ontology).
"This volume provides a timely update on [inferentialism] . . . There is clearly a research program here, one whose participants work closely with related areas in philosophical logic, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, the life sciences, the philosophy of perception, the philosophy of testimony, and the history of philosophy. It will be valuable for those who are either working in these areas, working at the boundaries of these and related areas, or are interested in a state-of-the-art overview of inferentialism as a strand of research that grows out of certain trends in 19th and 20th century European and North American philosophy." – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews