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Inferentialism without Normativity

Organon F, 2018, vol. 25, No 2, pp. 174-195.
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In this paper we argue that inferentialist approach to meaning does not, by itself, show that meaning is normative in a prescriptive sense, and that the constitutive rules argument is especially troubling for this position. To show that, we present the proto-inferentialist theory developed by Ajdukiewicz and claim that despite the differences between his theory and contemporary inferentialism rules of language in both theories function more like classificatory devices than prescriptions. Inferentialists can respond by claiming that in their theory meaning is essentially social and hence normative, but we claim that then semantic normativity becomes derivative of social normativity.

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