How Fundamental is the Fundamental Assumption?

Teorema 2 (2):5-19 (2012)
Abstract
The fundamental assumption of Dummett’s and Prawitz’ proof-theoretic justification of deduction is that ‘if we have a valid argument for a complex statement, we can construct a valid argument for it which finishes with an application of one of the introduction rules governing its principal operator’. I argue that the assumption is flawed in this general version, but should be restricted, not to apply to arguments in general, but only to proofs. I also argue that Dummett’s and Prawitz’ project of providing a logical basis for metaphysics only relies on the restricted assumption.
Keywords Michael Dummett  Dag Prawitz  Proof-theoretic semantics  Theory of Meaning  Realism vs Anti-Realism  Metaphysics
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