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Some Problems for Proof-Theoretic Semantics

William R. Stirton
The Philosophical Quarterly (1950-)
Vol. 58, No. 231 (Apr., 2008), pp. 278-298
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40208560
Page Count: 21
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Some Problems for Proof-Theoretic Semantics
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Abstract

Proof-theoretic semantics is an approach to logical semantics based on two ideas, of which the first is that the meaning of a logical connective can be explained by stipulating that some mode of inference, e.g., a natural deduction introduction or elimination rule, is permissible. The second idea is that the soundness of rules which are not stipulated outright may be deduced by some proof-theoretic argument from properties of the rules which are stipulated outright. I examine the first idea. My main conclusion is that the idea is more problematic, and requires more discussion, than has been generally realized. I mention five problems which will have to be overcome before the idea can be accepted as definitely viable.

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