On Tarski’s Background

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 251)


Let me start with the following quotation from Mostowski:

Tarski, in oral discussions, has often indicated his sympathies with nominalism. While he never accepted the ‘reism’ of Tadeusz Kotarbiński, he was certainly attracted to it in the early phase of his work. However, the set-theoretical methods that form the basis of his logical and mathematical studies compel him constantly to use the abstract and general notions that a nominalist seeks to avoid. In the absence of more extensive publications by Tarski on philosophical subjects, the conflict appears to have remained unresolved.2

My aim in this paper is to throw light on this cognitive conflict or dissonance of Tarski between his nominalistic and empiricistic sympathies and his “Platonic” mathematical practice as well as why he was so parsimonious in expressing his philosophical views.


Mathematical Practice Cognitive Conflict Personal Inclination Philosophical View Intuitive Formalism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ayer, A. J.: 1977, A Part of My Life, Collins, London.Google Scholar
  2. Givant, S. R.: 1991, ‘A Portrait of Alfred Tarski’, The Mathematical Intelligencer 13 (3), 16–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Lesniewski, S.: 1929, ‘Grundzüge eines neuen Systems der Grundlagen der Mathematik’, Fundamenta Mathematicae 14, 1–81;Google Scholar
  4. Eng. tr. by M. P. O’Neil in Lesniewski [ 1992 ], pp. 410–605.Google Scholar
  5. Lesniewski, S.: 1992, Collected Works, vols. 1–2, S. Surma, J. T. Srzednicki, D. I. Barnett and V. F. Rickey (eds.), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  6. Moore, G. H.: 1982, Zermelo’s Axiom of Choice: Its Origins, Development and Influence, Springer, Berlin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mostowski, A.: 1967, ‘Tarski, Alfred’, in P. Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, vol. 8, Macmillan, New York, pp. 77–81.Google Scholar
  8. Sierpifiski, W.: 1965, Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers, tr. by J. Smólska, Polish Scientific Publisher, Warszawa.Google Scholar
  9. Sobocifiski, B.: 1956, ’In memoriam Jan Lukasiewicz (1878–1956)’, Philosophical Studies (Maynooth, Ireland) 6 3–49.Google Scholar
  10. Suppes, P.: 1988, ‘Philosophical Implications of Tarski’s Work’, The Journal of Symbolic Logic 53, 80–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Tarski, A.: 1930, ’Über einige fundamentale Begriffe der Methodologie der deduktiven Wissenschaften’, Monatshefte für Mathematik und Physik 31, 361–404;Google Scholar
  12. Eng. tr. by J. H. Woodger in Tarski [ 1983 ], pp. 60–109.Google Scholar
  13. Tarski, A.: 1933, Pojecie prawdy w jezykach nauk dedukcyjnych (The Concept of Truth in Languages of Formalized Sciences), Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie, Warszawa; Germ. tr. see Tarski [ 1936a ].Google Scholar
  14. Tarski, A.: 1936, ’Über den Begriff der logischen Folgerung’, Actes du Congrés International de Philosophie Scientifique, vol. 8, Paris, Hermann, pp. 1–8;Google Scholar
  15. Eng. tr. by J. H. Woodger in Tarski [ 1983 ], pp. 409–420.Google Scholar
  16. Tarski, A.: 1936a, ‘Der Wahrheitsbegriff in den formalisierten Sprachen’, Studia Philosophica 1, 261–405;Google Scholar
  17. Eng. tr. in Tarski [1983], pp. 152–278.Google Scholar
  18. Tarski, A.: 1944, ‘The Semantic Conception of Truth and the Foundations of Semantics’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4, 341–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tarski, A.: 1954, ‘Contribution to the Discussion of P. Bernays, Zur Beurteilung der Situation in der beweistheoretischen Forschung’, Revue Internationale de Philosophie 8, 16–20;Google Scholar
  20. repr. in Tarski [1986–4], pp. 713–714.Google Scholar
  21. Tarski, A.: 1962, ‘Some Problems and Results Relevant to the Foundations of Set Theory’, in E. Nagel, P. Suppes and A. Tarski (eds.), Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Stanford University Press, Stanford, pp. 125–135;Google Scholar
  22. repr. in Tarski [1986–4], pp. 113–125.Google Scholar
  23. Tarski, A.: 1983, Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics, 2nd. edition, J. Corcoran (ed.), Hackett, Indianapolis; 1st edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1956.Google Scholar
  24. Tarski, A.: 1986, Collected Papers, vols. 1–4, S. R. Givant and R. N. McKenzie (eds.), Birkhäuser, Basel.Google Scholar
  25. Tarski, A.: 1986a, ‘What Are Logical Notions?’, History and Philosophy of Logic 7, 143–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tarski, A.: 1987, ‘A Philosophical Letter of Alfred Tarski. With a Prefatory Note by Morton White’, Journal of Philosophy 84, 28–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wolefiski, J.: 1993, ‘Alfred Tarski as a Philosopher’, in F. Coniglione, R. Poli and J. Wolefiski (eds.), Polish Scientific Philosophy The Lvov-Warsaw School, Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 319–338.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland

Personalised recommendations