The justification of the logical laws revisited

Synthese 148 (3):573 - 588 (2006)
Abstract
The proof-theoretic analysis of logical semantics undermines the received view of proof theory as being concerned with symbols devoid of meaning, and of model theory as the sole branch of logical theory entitled to access the realm of semantics. The basic tenet of proof-theoretic semantics is that meaning is given by some rules of proofs, in terms of which all logical laws can be justified and the notion of logical consequence explained. In this paper an attempt will be made to unravel some aspects of the issue and to show that this justification as it stands is untenable, for it relies on a formalistic conception of meaning and fails to recognise the fundamental distinction between semantic definitions and rules of inference. It is also briefly suggested that the profound connection between meaning and proofs should be approached by first reconsidering our very notion of proof.
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