An inferentialist approach to semantics: Time for a new kind of structuralism?

Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1208-1223 (2008)
Abstract
The perennial question – What is meaning? – receives many answers. In this paper I present and discuss inferentialism – a recent approach to semantics based on the thesis that to have ( such and such ) a meaning is to be governed by ( such and such ) a cluster of inferential rules . I point out that this thesis presupposes that looking for meaning requires seeing language as a social institution (rather than, say, a psychological reality). I also indicate that this approach may be seen as a new embodiment of the old ideas of structuralism.
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