Talking with Tonkers

Authors
Jared Warren
Stanford University
Abstract
Unrestricted inferentialism holds both that any collection of inference rules can determine a meaning for an expression and meaning constituting rules are automatically valid. Prior's infamous tonk connective refuted unrestricted inferentialism, or so it is universally thought. This paper argues against this consensus. I start by formulating the metasemantic theses of inferentialism with more care than they have hitherto received; I then consider a tonk language — Tonklish — and argue that the unrestricted inferentialist's treatment of this language is only problematic if it is mistakenly assumed that Tonklish can be homophonically translated into English. Next, I discuss the proper, non-homophonic, translation of Tonklish into English, rebut various objections, and consider several variants of Tonklish. The paper closes by highlighting the philosophical advantages that unrestricted inferentialism has over its competitors once the terrors of tonk have been tamed.
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Citations of this work BETA

Intertranslatability, Theoretical Equivalence, and Perversion.Jack Woods - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):58-68.
Change of Logic, Change of Meaning.Jared Warren - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 96 (2):421-442.
Is Inferentialism Circular?Jaroslav Peregrin - 2018 - Analysis 78 (3):450-454.

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