Tarski on Definition, Meaning and Truth

  • Douglas Patterson
Part of the Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science book series (LEUS, volume 16)

The conception of truth was a central concern of Polish philosophy. Though there was some disagreement about it,1 what was known as the “classical Aristotelian” conception was the dominant view. Tarski’s presentation of his conception of the conditions under which this conception could rigorously be expressed—his Convention T—and his development of a method for expressing truth so conceived in a range of cases was the culmination this venerable tradition. Tarski’s achievement is not without its detractors today; in particular Putnam’s remark that “as a philosophical account of truth, Tarski’s theory fails as badly as it is possible for an account to fail” (Putnam 1994, 333) is probably one of the more familiar evaluations of Tarski’s contribution on record. Here, I will set out Tarski’s conception of truth in its relation to Polish philosophy and other developments of the time; I will then respond to Putnam’s criticism in the hope of vindicating Tarski and the tradition to which he belonged.


Semantic Conception Semantic Meaning Intuitive Notion True Sentence Philosophical Account 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Patterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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