Inferentialism is a philosophical approach premised on the claim that an item of language (or thought) acquires meaning (or content) in virtue of being embedded in an intricate set of social practices normatively governed by inferential rules. Inferentialism found its paradigmatic formulation in Robert Brandom’s landmark book Making it Explicit, and over the last two decades it has established itself as one of the leading research programs in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of logic. While Brandom’s version of inferentialism has received wide attention in the philosophical literature, thinkers friendly to inferentialism have proposed and developed new lines of inquiry that merit wider recognition and critical appraisal.

From Rules to Meaning brings together new essays that systematically develop, compare, assess and critically react to some of the most pertinent recent trends in inferentialism. The book’s four thematic sections seek to apply inferentialism to a number of core issues, including the nature of meaning and content, reconstructing semantics, rule-oriented models and explanations of social practices and inferentialism’s historical influence and dialogue with other philosophical traditions. With contributions from a number of distinguished philosophers—including Robert Brandom and Jaroslav Peregrin—this volume is a major contribution to the philosophical literature on the foundations of logic and language.

chapter |45 pages


Inferentialism’s Years of Travel and Its Logico-Philosophical Calling

part 47I|66 pages

Language and Meaning

chapter 2|18 pages


Why Rules Ought to Matter

chapter 3|16 pages

Quine Peregrinating

Norms, Dispositions, and Analyticity

chapter 4|16 pages

Let’s Admit Defeat

Assertion, Denial, and Retraction

part 113II|124 pages

Logic and Semantics

part 237III|56 pages

Rules, Agency, and Explanation

chapter 11|10 pages

Naturecultural Inferentialism

chapter 12|12 pages


Where Do We Go from Here?