Tarski on the necessity reading of convention T

Synthese 151 (1):1 - 32 (2006)
Abstract
Tarski’s Convention T is often taken to claim that it is both sufficient and necessary for adequacy in a definition of truth that it imply instances of the T-schema where the embedded sentence translates the mentioned sentence. However, arguments against the necessity claim have recently appeared, and, furthermore, the necessity claim is actually not required for the indefinability results for which Tarski is justly famous; indeed, Tarski’s own presentation of the results in the later Undecidable Theories makes no mention of an assumption to the effect that the definition of truth implies the biconditionals. This raises a question: was Tarski in fact committed to the necessity claim in the important papers of the 1930s and 40s? I argue that he was not. The discussion of this apparently esoteric interpretive issue in fact gets to the heart of many important questions about truth, and in the final sections of the paper I discuss the importance of the T-biconditionals in the theory of meaning and the relation of deflationary and inflationary theories of truth to the semantic paradoxes.
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