Synthese

, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 507–524 | Cite as

Meaning Approached Via Proofs

Article

Abstract

According to a main idea of Gentzen the meanings of the logical constants are reflected by the introduction rules in his system of natural deduction. This idea is here understood as saying roughly that a closed argument ending with an introduction is valid provided that its immediate subarguments are valid and that other closed arguments are justified to the extent that they can be brought to introduction form. One main part of the paper is devoted to the exact development of this notion. Another main part of the paper is concerned with a modification of this notion as it occurs in Michael Dummett’s book The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. The two notions are compared and there is a discussion of how they fare as a foundation for a theory of meaning. It is noted that Dummett’s notion has a simpler structure, but it is argued that it is less appropriate for the foundation of a theory of meaning, because the possession of a valid argument for a sentence in Dummett’s sense is not enough to be warranted to assert the sentence.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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