Article/Publication Details

Meaning-Constitutive Inferences

Organon F, 2017, vol. 24, No 1, pp. 85-104.
Language: English
File to download: PDF*

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Abstract

A traditional objection to inferentialism states that not all inferences can be meaning-constitutive and therefore inferentialism has to comprise an analytic-synthetic distinction. As a response, Peregrin argues that meaning is a matter of inferential rules and only the subset of all the valid inferences for which there is a widely shared corrective behaviour corresponds to rules and so determines meaning. Unfortunately, Peregrin does not discuss what counts as “widely shared”. In the paper, I argue for an empirical plausibility of Peregrin’s proposal. The aim of the paper is to show that we can find examples of meaning-constitutive linguistic action, which sustain Peregrin’s response. The idea is supported by examples of meaning modulation. If Peregrin is right, then we should be able to find specific meaning modulations in which a new meaning is publicly available and modulated in such a way that it has a potential to be widely shared. I believe that binding modulations – a specific type of meaning modulations – satisfy this condition.

Keywords

inferentialism, meaning, meaning modulation, meaning-constitutive inferences, normative inferentialism

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