Inferentialism, as presented by Robert Brandom, is first and foremost a view of the nature of meaning: it is the view that meaning is fundamentally the role which an expression acquires by becoming governed by the rules of our language games. (Hence it is a certain kind of “use theory of meaning” familiar from post-Wittgensteinian discussions; according to inferentialism, however, meaning is not given by actual use, but rather by the rules of correct use.) In this text we attempt to draw very general consequences from this approach (consequences that go beyond what is to be found in the work of R. Brandom). We claim that meaning is generally a certain form of “entanglement” in a certain kind of human practice that is built up from the much more primitive building blocks of human abilities that enable us to adopt normative attitudes and, in general, to accept rules. And it is just these human abilities which have shifted us humans onto the evolutionary trajectory on which we are now proceeding and on which we are quickly leaving behind other kinds of animals. It is precisely this ability which has led to our becoming the only animal species which has supplemented standard biological evolution with a kind of evolution that we might call cultural, and which is incomparably faster and more effective.
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