The Analysis and Evaluation of the Conservativeness in Inferentialism Theory of Meaning

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate Professor


The logical constants are defined by operational rules in the inferentialism theory of meaning. Arthur Prior’s counterexample (Tonk) makes a major challenge for the inferentialism. He shows that every arbitrary operational rule can describe a logical constant and this makes logical constants defective and incompatible with the system. In response to this problem, Belnap Offers conservativeness and uniqueness requirements for the operational rules. In this paper, we have evaluated the conservativeness requirement. The main question investigated is “how the conservativeness as a criterion provides the necessary and sufficient conditions for logical constant definition?” The hypothesis that we are to establish is the inability to achieve the definition of logical constant by conservativeness requirement.


Main Subjects

[1]. Belnap, N. D. (1962, Jun). »Tonk, Plonk and Plink«. Analysis, 22(6), 130-134.
[2]. Cook, R. T. (2005). »What’s wrong with tonk(?)«. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 34, 217-226.
[3]. Dummett, M. (1991). The logical basis of metaphysics (Vol. 5). Harvard university press.
[4]. Haack, S. (1978). logics, Philosophy of. Cambridge University Press.
[5]. Hjortland, O. T. (2010). The structure of logical consequence : Proof theoretic conception(A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of PhD). University of St. Andrews.
[6]. Hughes, G. E. (1996). A new introduction to modal logic. Psychology Press.
[7]. Negri, S., & Plato, J. V. (2008). Structural proof theory. Cambridge university press.
[8]. Prawitz, D. (1965). Natural Deduction: A Proof-Theoretical Study. Stockholm: Almqvist &Wicksell.
[9]. Prior, A. N. (1960). »The runabout inference-ticket«. ANALYSIS, 21(2), 38-39.
[10]. Steinberger, F. (2009). »Harmony and Logical Inferentialism«. (Doctoral dissertation, PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, Cambridge).
[11]. Stevenson, J. T. (1961). »Roundabout the runabout inference-ticket«. Analysis, Vol. 21, No. 6, 124-128.
[12]. Wagner, S. (1981). »Tonk«. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 22(4), 289-300.