Inferentialism and singular reference

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (2):183-220 (2005)
Basic to Robert Brandom’s project in Making It Explicit is the demarcation of singular terms according to the structure of their inferential roles---rather than, as is usual, according to the kinds of things they purport to denote. But the demarcational effort founders on the need to distinguish extensional and nonextensional occurrences of expressions in terms of inferential roles; the closest that an inferentialist can come to drawing that distinction is to discern degrees of extensionality, and that is not close enough. The general moral applies as well to “two factor” theories of content: the notion of inferential role lacks the independence from the notion of denotation that many proponents of such theories have attributed to it.
Keywords Inferentialism  Brandom, Robert B
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