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Abstract

Jerry Fodor and Ernie Lepore have argued that inferential roles are not compositional. It is unclear, however, whether the theories at which they aim their objection are obliged to meet the strong compositionality requirement they have in mind. But even if that requirement is accepted, the data they adduce can in fact be derived from an inferential-role theory that meets it. I explain this in terms of Robert Brandom's substitutional conception of inferential roles. The several objections the proposal invites are worth discussing because they rest, I think, on neglect of some interesting and important facts about inferential roles. Whether Fodor's and Lepore's strong compositionality requirement is justified or not, then, inferential-role theories do not have the problem that they claim to have identified.