Why Rationalist Compositionality Won't Go Away (Either)

Theoria 24 (1):29-47 (2009)
Abstract
Vigorous Fodorian criticism may make it seem impossible for Inferential Role Semantics (IRS) to accommodate compositionality. In this paper, first, I introduce a neo-Fregean version of IRS that appeals centrally to the notion of rationality. Second, I show how such a theory can respect compositionality by means of semantic rules. Third, I argue that, even if we consider top-down compositional derivability: a) the Fodorian is not justified in claiming that it involves so-called reverse compositionality; and b) a defender of IRS can still offer a satisfactory account in terms of the inferential capacities of rational thinkers
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