This entry delineates the core elements of inferentialism. Recent inferentialist accounts of language and thought emphasize the importance of social practices of language users in terms of giving and asking for reasons, the essential normativity involved in inferences, the presence of commitments in all such activities, and the indispensability of others and of intersubjective ascriptions of entitlements in making inferences or ascribing them. Inferentialism underlines the sociality of language and thought rather than truth or representation, as in orthodox accounts, and recent versions of it prioritize language over thought. Inferentialism is a theory concerning what constitutes the meaning of an expression or the conceptual content of a thought and authorized inferential relations between linguistic and between mental items, respectively.

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Sage Publications

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Book Chapter