Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||Tarski is famous for his widely accepted conceptual analysis (or, in his terms, “explication”) of the notion of truth for formal languages and the allied notions of satisfaction, definability, and logical consequence. From an historical point of view, two questions are of interest. First, what motivated Tarski to make these analyses, and second, what led to their particular form? The latter question is easy to answer at one level: Tarski was heavily influenced by the visible success of conceptual analysis in set-theoretic topology as practiced by the leading mathematicians at the University of Warsaw in the 1920s, and so formulated his analyses of semantical concepts in general set-theoretical terms. But the actual forms which his definitions took are puzzling in a number of respects. The question of motivation is also difficult because there was no prima facie compelling reason for dealing in precise terms with the semantical notions. These had been used quite confidently, without any such explication, by a number of Tarski’s contemporaries, including Skolem and Gödel. The aim of this paper is to throw greater light on both the “why” and “how” questions concerning Tarski’s conceptual analysis of semantical notions, especially that of truth.|
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