REVIEW OF Alfred Tarski, Collected Papers, vols. 1-4 (1986) edited by Steven Givant and Ralph McKenzie [Book Review]

MATHEMATICAL REVIEWS 91 (h):01101-4 (1991)
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Alfred Tarski (1901--1983) is widely regarded as one of the two giants of twentieth-century logic and also as one of the four greatest logicians of all time (Aristotle, Frege and Gödel being the other three). Of the four, Tarski was the most prolific as a logician. The four volumes of his collected papers, which exclude most of his 19 monographs, span over 2500 pages. Aristotle's writings are comparable in volume, but most of the Aristotelian corpus is not about logic, whereas virtually everything written by Tarski concerns logic more or less directly. There is no doubt that Tarski wrote more on logic than any other author; he started publishing on logic in 1921 at the age of 20 and continued until his death at the age of 82. Two of his works appeared posthumously [Hist. Philos. Logic 7 (1986), no. 2, 143--154; MR0868748 (88b:03010); Tarski and Givant, A formalization of set theory without variables, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, 1987; MR0920815 (89g:03012)]. Tarski's voluminous writings were widely scattered in numerous journals, some quite rare. It has been extremely difficult to study the development of Tarski's thought and to trace the interconnections and interdependence of his various papers. Thanks to the present collection all this has changed, and it is likely that the increased accessibility of Tarski's papers will have the effect of increasing Tarski's already enormous influence.

Author's Profile

John Corcoran
PhD: Johns Hopkins University; Last affiliation: University at Buffalo


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