In this manuscript, published here for the first time, Tarski explores the concept of logical notion. He draws on Klein's Erlanger Programm to locate the logical notions of ordinary geometry as those invariant under all transformations of space. Generalizing, he explicates the concept of logical notion of an arbitrary discipline.
Alfred Tarski was one of the greatest logicians of the twentieth century. His influence comes not merely through his own work but from the legion of students who pursued his projects, both in Poland and Berkeley. This chapter focuses on three key areas of Tarski's research, beginning with his groundbreaking studies of the concept of truth. Tarski's work led to the creation of the area of mathematical logic known as model theory and prefigured semantic approaches in the (...) philosophy of language and philosophical logic, such as Kripke's possible worlds semantics for modal logic. We also examine the paradoxical decomposition of the sphere known as the Banach–Tarski paradox. Finally we examine Tarski's work on decidable and undecidable theories, which he carried out in collaboration with students such as Mostowski, Presburger, Robinson and others. (shrink)
Alfred Tarski was a nominalist. But he published almost nothing on his nominalist views, and until recently the only sources scholars had for studying Tarski’s nominalism were conversational reports from his friends and colleagues. However, a recently-discovered archival resource provides the most detailed information yet about Tarski’s nominalism. Tarski spent the academic year 1940-41 at Harvard, along with many of the leading lights of scientific philosophy: Carnap, Quine, Hempel, Goodman, and (for the fall semester) Russell. This (...) group met frequently to discuss logical and philosophical topics of shared interest. At these meetings, Carnap took dictation notes, which are now stored in the Archives of Scientific Philosophy. Interestingly, and somewhat surprisingly, the plurality of notes covers a proposal Tarski presents for a nominalist language of unified science. This chapter addresses the following questions about this project. What, precisely, is Tarski’s nominalist position? What rationales are given for Tarski’s nominalist stance—and are these rationales defensible? Finally, how is Tarskian nominalism of 1941 related to current nominalist projects? (shrink)
Alfred Tarski seems to endorse a partial conception of truth, the T-schema, which he believes might be clarified by the application of empirical methods, specifically citing the experimental results of Arne Næss (1938a). The aim of this paper is to argue that Næss’ empirical work confirmed Tarski’s semantic conception of truth, among others. In the first part, I lay out the case for believing that Tarski’s T-schema, while not the formal and generalizable Convention-T, provides a partial account (...) of truth that may be buttressed by an examination of the ordinary person’s views of truth. Then, I address a concern raised by Tarski’s contemporaries who saw Næss’ results as refuting Tarski’s semantic conception. Following that, I summarize Næss’ results. Finally, I will contend with a few objections that suggest a strict interpretation of Næss’ results might recommend an overturning of Tarski’s theory. (shrink)
This paper discusses the history of the confusion and controversies over whether the definition of consequence presented in the 11-page 1936 Tarski consequence-definition paper is based on a monistic fixed-universe framework?like Begriffsschrift and Principia Mathematica. Monistic fixed-universe frameworks, common in pre-WWII logic, keep the range of the individual variables fixed as the class of all individuals. The contrary alternative is that the definition is predicated on a pluralistic multiple-universe framework?like the 1931 Gödel incompleteness paper. A pluralistic multiple-universe framework recognizes (...) multiple universes of discourse serving as different ranges of the individual variables in different interpretations?as in post-WWII model theory. In the early 1960s, many logicians?mistakenly, as we show?held the ?contrary alternative? that Tarski 1936 had already adopted a Gödel-type, pluralistic, multiple-universe framework. We explain that Tarski had not yet shifted out of the monistic, Frege?Russell, fixed-universe paradigm. We further argue that between his Principia-influenced pre-WWII Warsaw period and his model-theoretic post-WWII Berkeley period, Tarski's philosophy underwent many other radical changes. (shrink)
Many commentators on Alfred Tarski have, following Hartry Field, claimed that Tarski's truth-definition was motivated by physicalism—the doctrine that all facts, including semantic facts, must be reducible to physical facts. I claim, instead, that Tarski did not aim to reduce semantic facts to physical ones. Thus, Field's criticism that Tarski's truth-definition fails to fulfill physicalist ambitions does not reveal Tarski to be inconsistent, since Tarski's goal is not to vindicate physicalism. I argue that (...) class='Hi'>Tarski's only published remarks that speak approvingly of physicalism were written in unusual circumstances: Tarski was likely attempting to appease an audience of physicalists that he viewed as hostile to his ideas. In later sections I develop positive accounts of: (1) Tarski's reduction of semantic concepts; (2) Tarski's motivation to develop formal semantics in the particular way he does; and (3) the role physicalism plays in Tarski's thought. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Tarski’s pioneering work on truth has been thought by some to motivate a robust, correspondence-style theory of truth, and by others to motivate a deflationary attitude toward truth. I argue that Tarski’s work suggests neither; if it motivates any contemporary theory of truth, it motivates conceptual primitivism, the view that truth is a fundamental, indefinable concept. After outlining conceptual primitivism and Tarski’s theory of truth, I show how the two approaches to truth share much in common. While (...)Tarski does not explicitly accept primitivism, the view is open to him, and fits better with his formal work on truth than do correspondence or deflationary theories. Primitivists, in turn, may rely on Tarski’s insights in motivating their own perspective on truth. I conclude by showing how viewing Tarski through the primitivist lens provides a fresh response to some familiar charges from Putnam and Etchemendy. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam's famous arguments criticizing Tarski's theory of truth are evaluated. It is argued that they do not succeed to undermine Tarski's approach. One of the arguments is based on the problematic idea of a false instance of T-schema. The other ignores various issues essential for Tarski's setting such as language-relativity of truth definition.
In the early 20th century, scepticism was common among philosophers about the very meaningfulness of the notion of truth – and of the related notions of denotation, definition etc. (i.e., what Tarski called semantical concepts). Awareness was growing of the various logical paradoxes and anomalies arising from these concepts. In addition, more philosophical reasons were being given for this aversion.1 The atmosphere changed dramatically with Alfred Tarski’s path-breaking contribution. What Tarski did was to show that, assuming that (...) the syntax of the object language is specified exactly enough, and that the metatheory has a certain amount of set theoretic power,2 one can explicitly define truth in the object language. And what can be explicitly defined can be eliminated. It follows that the defined concept cannot give rise to any inconsistencies (that is, paradoxes). This gave new respectability to the concept of truth and related notions. Nevertheless, philosophers’ judgements on the nature and philosophical relevance of Tarski’s work have varied. It is my aim here to review and evaluate some threads in this debate. (shrink)
Tarski’s Convention T—presenting his notion of adequate definition of truth (sic)—contains two conditions: alpha and beta. Alpha requires that all instances of a certain T Schema be provable. Beta requires in effect the provability of ‘every truth is a sentence’. Beta formally recognizes the fact, repeatedly emphasized by Tarski, that sentences (devoid of free variable occurrences)—as opposed to pre-sentences (having free occurrences of variables)—exhaust the range of significance of is true. In Tarski’s preferred usage, it is part (...) of the meaning of true that attribution of being true to a given thing presupposes the thing is a sentence. Beta’s importance is further highlighted by the fact that alpha can be satisfied using the recursively definable concept of being satisfied by every infinite sequence, which Tarski explicitly rejects. Moreover, in Definition 23, the famous truth-definition, Tarski supplements “being satisfied by every infinite sequence” by adding the condition “being a sentence”. Even where truth is undefinable and treated by Tarski axiomatically, he adds as an explicit axiom a sentence to the effect that every truth is a sentence. Surprisingly, the sentence just before the presentation of Convention T seems to imply that alpha alone might be sufficient. Even more surprising is the sentence just after Convention T saying beta “is not essential”. Why include a condition if it is not essential? Tarski says nothing about this dissonance. Considering the broader context, the Polish original, the German translation from which the English was derived, and other sources, we attempt to determine what Tarski might have intended by the two troubling sentences which, as they stand, are contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of several other passages in Tarski’s corpus. (shrink)
This article is a translation of the paper in Polish (Alfred Tarski - człowiek, który zdefiniował prawdę) published in Ruch Filozoficzny 4 (4) (2007). It is a personal Alfred Tarski memories based on my stay in Berkeley and visit the Alfred Tarski house for the invitation of Janusz Tarski.
We discuss misinformation about “the liar antinomy” with special reference to Tarski’s 1933 truth-definition paper [1]. Lies are speech-acts, not merely sentences or propositions. Roughly, lies are statements of propositions not believed by their speakers. Speakers who state their false beliefs are often not lying. And speakers who state true propositions that they don’t believe are often lying—regardless of whether the non-belief is disbelief. Persons who state propositions on which they have no opinion are lying as much as those (...) who state propositions they believe to be false. Not all lies are statements of false propositions—some lies are true; some have no truth-value. People who only occasionally lie are not liars: roughly, liars repeatedly and habitually lie. Some half-truths are statements intended to mislead even though the speakers “interpret” the sentences used as expressing true propositions. Others are statements of propositions believed by the speakers to be questionable but without revealing their supposed problematic nature. The two “formulations” of “the antinomy of the liar” in [1], pp.157–8 and 161–2, have nothing to do with lying or liars. The first focuses on an “expression” Tarski calls ‘c’, namely the following. -/- c is not a true sentence -/- The second focuses on another “expression”, also called ‘c’, namely the following. -/- for all p, if c is identical with the sentence ‘p’, then not p -/- Without argumentation or even discussion, Tarski implies that these strange “expressions” are English sentences. [1] Alfred Tarski, The concept of truth in formalized languages, pp. 152–278, Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics, papers from 1923 to 1938, ed. John Corcoran, Hackett, Indianapolis 1983. -/- https://www.academia.edu/12525833/Sentence_Proposition_Judgment_Statement_and_Fact_Speaking_about_th e_Written_English_Used_in_Logic. (shrink)
This paper describes Tarski’s project of rehabilitating the notion of truth, previously considered dubious by many philosophers. The project was realized by providing a formal truth definition, which does not employ any problematic concept.
The generalized conclusion of the Tarski and Gödel proofs: All formal systems of greater expressive power than arithmetic necessarily have undecidable sentences. Is not the immutable truth that Tarski made it out to be it is only based on his starting assumptions. -/- When we reexamine these starting assumptions from the perspective of the philosophy of logic we find that there are alternative ways that formal systems can be defined that make undecidability inexpressible in all of these formal (...) systems. (shrink)
Both Tarski and Gödel “prove” that provability can diverge from Truth. When we boil their claim down to its simplest possible essence it is really claiming that valid inference from true premises might not always derive a true consequence. This is obviously impossible.
In this paper the importance of Tarski's truth definition is evaluated like a productive resource to criticize Nietzsche's nihilistic view and any pragmatic understanding of truth.
The period from 1900 to 1935 was particularly fruitful and important for the development of logic and logical metatheory. This survey is organized along eight "itineraries" concentrating on historically and conceptually linked strands in this development. Itinerary I deals with the evolution of conceptions of axiomatics. Itinerary II centers on the logical work of Bertrand Russell. Itinerary III presents the development of set theory from Zermelo onward. Itinerary IV discusses the contributions of the algebra of logic tradition, in particular, Löwenheim (...) and Skolem. Itinerary V surveys the work in logic connected to the Hilbert school, and itinerary V deals specifically with consistency proofs and metamathematics, including the incompleteness theorems. Itinerary VII traces the development of intuitionistic and many-valued logics. Itinerary VIII surveys the development of semantical notions from the early work on axiomatics up to Tarski's work on truth. (shrink)
CORCORAN REVIEWS THE 4 VOLUMES OF TARSKI’S COLLECTED PAPERS 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. (shrink)
If the conclusion of the Tarski Undefinability Theorem was that some artificially constrained limited notions of a formal system necessarily have undecidable sentences, then Tarski made no mistake within his assumptions. When we expand the scope of his investigation to other notions of formal systems we reach an entirely different conclusion showing that Tarski's assumptions were wrong.
Philosopher’s judgements on the philosophical value of Tarski’s contributions to the theory of truth have varied. For example Karl Popper, Rudolf Carnap, and Donald Davidson have, in their different ways, celebrated Tarski’s achievements and have been enthusiastic about their philosophical relevance. Hilary Putnam, on the other hand, pronounces that “[a]s a philosophical account of truth, Tarski’s theory fails as badly as it is possible for an account to fail.” Putnam has several alleged reasons for his dissatisfaction,1 but (...) one of them, the one I call the modal objection (cf. Raatikainen 2003), has been particularly influential. In fact, very similar objections have been presented over and over again in the literature. Already in 1954, Arthur Pap had criticized Tarski’s account with a similar argument (Pap 1954). Moreover, both Scott Soames (1984) and John Etchemendy (1988) use, with an explicit reference to Putnam, similar modal arguments in relation to Tarski. Richard Heck (1997), too, shows some sympathy for such considerations. Simon Blackburn (1984, Ch. 8) has put forward a related argument against Tarski. Recently, Marian David has criticized Tarski’s truth definition with an analogous argument as well (David 2004, p. 389-390).2 This line of argument is thus apparently one of the most influential critiques of Tarski. It is certainly worthy of serious attention. Nevertheless, I shall argue that, given closer scrutiny, it does not present such an acute problem for the Tarskian approach to truth as many philosophers think. But I also believe that it is important to understand clearly why this is so. Moreover, I think that a careful consideration of the issue illuminates certain important but somewhat neglected aspects of the Tarskian approach. (shrink)
Kit Fine has reawakened a puzzle about variables with a long history in analytic philosophy, labeling it “the antinomy of the variable”. Fine suggests that the antinomy demands a reconceptualization of the role of variables in mathematics, natural language semantics, and first-order logic. The difficulty arises because: (i) the variables ‘x’ and ‘y’ cannot be synonymous, since they make different contributions when they jointly occur within a sentence, but (ii) there is a strong temptation to say that distinct variables ‘x’ (...) and ‘y’ are synonymous, since sentences differing by the total, proper substitution of ‘x’ for ‘y’ always agree in meaning. We offer a precise interpretation of the challenge posed by (i) and (ii). We then develop some neglected passages of Tarski to show that his semantics for variables has the resources to resolve the antinomy without abandoning standard compositional semantics. (shrink)
What is a logical constant? The question is addressed in the tradition of Tarski's definition of logical operations as operations which are invariant under permutation. The paper introduces a general setting in which invariance criteria for logical operations can be compared and argues for invariance under potential isomorphism as the most natural characterization of logical operations.
In this paper, two axiomatic theories T− and T′ are constructed, which are dual to Tarski’s theory T+ (1930) of deductive systems based on classical propositional calculus. While in Tarski’s theory T+ the primitive notion is the classical consequence function (entailment) Cn+, in the dual theory T− it is replaced by the notion of Słupecki’s rejection consequence Cn− and in the dual theory T′ it is replaced by the notion of the family Incons of inconsistent sets. The author (...) has proved that the theories T+, T−, and T′ are equivalent. (shrink)
The Tarskian notion of truth-in-a-model is the paradigm formal capture of our pre-theoretical notion of truth for semantic purposes. But what exactly makes Tarski’s construction so well suited for semantics is seldom discussed. In my Semantics, Metasemantics, Aboutness (OUP 2017) I articulate a certain requirement on the successful formal modeling of truth for semantics – “locality-per-reference” – against a background discussion of metasemantics and its relation to truth-conditional semantics. It is a requirement on any formal capture of sentential truth (...) vis-à-vis the interpretation of singular terms and it is clearly met by the Tarskian notion. In this paper another such requirement is articulated – “locality-per-application” – which is an additional requirement on the formal capture of sentential truth, this time vis-à-vis the interpretation of predicates. This second requirement is also clearly met by the Tarskian notion. The two requirements taken together offer a fuller answer than has been hitherto available to the question what makes Tarski's notion of truth-in-a-model especially well suited for semantics. (shrink)
In 1988, J. Ivlev proposed some (non-normal) modal systems which are semantically characterized by four-valued non-deterministic matrices in the sense of A. Avron and I. Lev. Swap structures are multialgebras (a.k.a. hyperalgebras) of a special kind, which were introduced in 2016 by W. Carnielli and M. Coniglio in order to give a non-deterministic semantical account for several paraconsistent logics known as logics of formal inconsistency, which are not algebraizable by means of the standard techniques. Each swap structure induces naturally a (...) non-deterministic matrix. The aim of this paper is to obtain a swap structures semantics for some Ivlev-like modal systems proposed in 2015 by M. Coniglio, L. Fariñas del Cerro and N. Peron. Completeness results will be stated by means of the notion of Lindenbaum–Tarski swap structures, which constitute a natural generalization to multialgebras of the concept of Lindenbaum–Tarski algebras. (shrink)
The Introduction outlines, in a concise way, the history of the Lvov-Warsaw School – a most unique Polish school of worldwide renown, which pioneered trends combining philosophy, logic, mathematics and language. The author accepts that the beginnings of the School fall on the year 1895, when its founder Kazimierz Twardowski, a disciple of Franz Brentano, came to Lvov on his mission to organize a scientific circle. Soon, among the characteristic features of the School was its serious approach towards philosophical studies (...) and teaching of philosophy, dealing with philosophy and propagation of it as an intellectual and moral mission, passion for clarity and precision, as well as exchange of thoughts, and cooperation with representatives of other disciplines.The genesis is followed by a chronological presentation of the development of the School in the successive years. The author mentions all the key representatives of the School (among others, Ajdukiewicz, Lesniewski, Łukasiewicz,Tarski), accompanying the names with short descriptions of their achievements. The development of the School after Poland’s regaining independence in 1918 meant part of the members moving from Lvov to Warsaw, thus providing the other segment to the name – Warsaw School of Logic. The author dwells longer on the activity of the School during the Interwar period – the time of its greatest prosperity, which ended along with the outbreak of World War 2. Attempts made after the War to recreate the spirit of the School are also outlined and the names of followers are listed accordingly. The presentation ends with some concluding remarks on the contribution of the School to contemporary developments in the fields of philosophy, mathematical logic or computer science in Poland. (shrink)
Gila Sher interviewed by Chen Bo: -/- I. Academic Background and Earlier Research: 1. Sher’s early years. 2. Intellectual influence: Kant, Quine, and Tarski. 3. Origin and main Ideas of The Bounds of Logic. 4. Branching quantifiers and IF logic. 5. Preparation for the next step. -/- II. Foundational Holism and a Post-Quinean Model of Knowledge: 1. General characterization of foundational holism. 2. Circularity, infinite regress, and philosophical arguments. 3. Comparing foundational holism and foundherentism. 4. A post-Quinean model of (...) knowledge. 5. Intellect and figuring out. 6. Comparing foundational holism with Quine’s holism. 7. Evaluation of Quine’s Philosophy -/- III. Substantive Theory of Truth and Relevant Issues: 1. Outline of Sher’s substantive theory of truth. 2. Criticism of deflationism and treatment of the Liar. 3. Comparing Sher’s substantive theory of truth with Tarski’s theory of truth. -/- IV. A New Philosophy of Logic and Comparison with Other Theories: 1. Foundational account of logic. 2. Standard of logicality, set theory and logic. 3. Psychologism, Hanna’s and Maddy’s conceptions of logic. 4. Quine’s theses about the revisability of logic. -/- V. Epilogue. (shrink)
Reid, Constance. Hilbert (a Biography). Reviewed by Corcoran in Philosophy of Science 39 (1972), 106–08. -/- Constance Reid was an insider of the Berkeley-Stanford logic circle. Her San Francisco home was in Ashbury Heights near the homes of logicians such as Dana Scott and John Corcoran. Her sister Julia Robinson was one of the top mathematical logicians of her generation, as was Julia’s husband Raphael Robinson for whom Robinson Arithmetic was named. Julia was a Tarski PhD and, in recognition (...) of a distinguished career, was elected President of the American Mathematics Society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Robinson http://www.awm-math.org/noetherbrochure/Robinson82.html. (shrink)
Logical Indefinites.Jack Woods - 2014 - Logique Et Analyse -- Special Issue Edited by Julien Murzi and Massimiliano Carrara 227: 277-307.details
I argue that we can and should extend Tarski's model-theoretic criterion of logicality to cover indefinite expressions like Hilbert's ɛ operator, Russell's indefinite description operator η, and abstraction operators like 'the number of'. I draw on this extension to discuss the logical status of both abstraction operators and abstraction principles.
Corcoran, John. 2005. Meanings of word: type-occurrence-token. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 11(2005) 117. -/- Once we are aware of the various senses of ‘word’, we realize that self-referential statements use ambiguous sentences. If a statement is made using the sentence ‘this is a pronoun’, is the speaker referring to an interpreted string, a string-type, a string-occurrence, a string-token, or what? The listeners can wonder “this what?”. -/- John Corcoran, Meanings of word: type-occurrence-token Philosophy, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4150 E-mail: (...) corcoran@buffalo.edu The four-letter written-English expression ‘word’, which plays important roles in applications and expositions of logic and philosophy of logic, is ambiguous (multisense, or polysemic) in that it has multiple normal meanings (senses, or definitions). Several of its meanings are vague (imprecise, or indefinite) in that they admit of borderline (marginal, or fringe) cases. This paper juxtaposes, distinguishes, and analyses several senses of ‘word’ focusing on a constellation of senses analogous to constellations of senses of other expression words such as ‘expression’, ‘symbol’, ‘character’, ‘letter’, ‘term’, ‘phrase’, ‘formula’, ‘sentence’, ‘derivation’, ‘paragraph’, and ‘discourse’. Consider, e.g., the word ‘letter’. In one sense there are exactly twenty-six letters (letter-types or ideal letters) in the English alphabet and there are exactly four letters in the word ‘letter’. In another sense, there are exactly six letters (letter-repetitions or letter-occurrences) in the word-type ‘letter’. In yet another sense, every new inscription (act of writing or printing) of ‘letter’ brings into existence six new letters (letter-tokens or ink-letters) and one new word that had not previously existed. The number of letter-occurrences (occurrences of a letter-type) in a given word-type is the same as the number of letter-tokens (tokens of a letter-type) in a single token of the given word. Many logicians fail to distinguish “token” from “occurrence” and a few actually confuse the two concepts. Epistemological and ontological problems concerning word-types, word-occurrences, and word-tokens are described in philosophically neutral terms. This paper presents a theoretical framework of concepts and principles concerning logicography, including use of English in logic. The framework is applied to analytical exposition and critical evaluation of classic passages in the works of philosophers and logicians including Boole, Peirce, Frege, Russell, Tarski, Church and Quine. This paper is intended as a philosophical sequel to Corcoran et al. “String Theory”, Journal of Symbolic Logic 39(1974) 625-637. https://www.academia.edu/s/cdfa6c854e?source=link -/- . (shrink)
In his essay ‘“Wang’s Paradox”’, Crispin Wright proposes a solution to the Sorites Paradox (in particular, the form of it he calls the ‘Paradox of Sharp Boundaries’) that involves adopting intuitionistic logic when reasoning with vague predicates. He does not give a semantic theory which accounts for the validity of intuitionistic logic (and the invalidity of stronger logics) in that area. The present essay tentatively makes good the deficiency. By applying a theorem of Tarski, it shows that intuitionistic logic (...) is the strongest logic that may be applied, given certain semantic assumptions about vague predicates. The essay ends with an inconclusive discussion of whether those semantic assumptions should be accepted. (shrink)
One innovation in this paper is its identification, analysis, and description of a troubling ambiguity in the word ‘argument’. In one sense ‘argument’ denotes a premise-conclusion argument: a two-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—and a single sentence—the conclusion. In another sense it denotes a premise-conclusion-mediation argument—later called an argumentation: a three-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—a single sentence—the conclusion—and complex of sentences—the mediation. The latter is often intended to show that the conclusion follows from (...) the premises. The complementarity and interrelation of premise-conclusion arguments and premise-conclusion-mediation arguments resonate throughout the rest of the paper which articulates the conceptual structure found in logic from Aristotle to Tarski. This 1972 paper can be seen as anticipating Corcoran’s signature work: the more widely read 1989 paper, Argumentations and Logic, Argumentation 3, 17–43. MR91b:03006. The 1972 paper was translated into Portuguese. The 1989 paper was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Persian. (shrink)
Formalizing Euclid’s first axiom. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 20 (2014) 404–5. (Coauthor: Daniel Novotný) -/- Euclid [fl. 300 BCE] divides his basic principles into what came to be called ‘postulates’ and ‘axioms’—two words that are synonyms today but which are commonly used to translate Greek words meant by Euclid as contrasting terms. -/- Euclid’s postulates are specifically geometric: they concern geometric magnitudes, shapes, figures, etc.—nothing else. The first: “to draw a line from any point to any point”; the last: the (...) parallel postulate. -/- Euclid’s axioms are general principles of magnitude: they concern geometric magnitudes and magnitudes of other kinds as well even numbers. The first is often translated “Things that equal the same thing equal one another”. -/- There are other differences that are or might become important. -/- Aristotle [fl. 350 BCE] meticulously separated his basic principles [archai, singular archê] according to subject matter: geometrical, arithmetic, astronomical, etc. However, he made no distinction that can be assimilated to Euclid’s postulate/axiom distinction. -/- Today we divide basic principles into non-logical [topic-specific] and logical [topic-neutral] but this too is not the same as Euclid’s. In this regard it is important to be cognizant of the difference between equality and identity—a distinction often crudely ignored by modern logicians. Tarski is a rare exception. The four angles of a rectangle are equal to—not identical to—one another; the size of one angle of a rectangle is identical to the size of any other of its angles. No two angles are identical to each other. -/- The sentence ‘Things that equal the same thing equal one another’ contains no occurrence of the word ‘magnitude’. This paper considers the problem of formalizing the proposition Euclid intended as a principle of magnitudes while being faithful to the logical form and to its information content. (shrink)
According to Field’s influential incompleteness objection, Tarski’s semantic theory of truth is unsatisfactory since the definition that forms its basis is incomplete in two distinct senses: (1) it is physicalistically inadequate, and for this reason, (2) it is conceptually deficient. In this paper, I defend the semantic theory of truth against the incompleteness objection by conceding (1) but rejecting (2). After arguing that Davidson and McDowell’s reply to the incompleteness objection fails to pass muster, I argue that, within the (...) constraints of a non-reductive physicalism and a holism concerning the concepts of truth, reference and meaning, conceding Field’s physicalistic inadequacy conclusion while rejecting his conceptual deficiency conclusion is a promising reply to the incompleteness objection. (shrink)
Corcoran’s 27 entries in the 1999 second edition of Robert Audi’s Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy [Cambridge: Cambridge UP]. -/- ancestral, axiomatic method, borderline case, categoricity, Church (Alonzo), conditional, convention T, converse (outer and inner), corresponding conditional, degenerate case, domain, De Morgan, ellipsis, laws of thought, limiting case, logical form, logical subject, material adequacy, mathematical analysis, omega, proof by recursion, recursive function theory, scheme, scope, Tarski (Alfred), tautology, universe of discourse. -/- The entire work is available online free at more (...) than one website. Paste the whole URL. http://archive.org/stream/RobertiAudi_The.Cambridge.Dictionary.of.Philosophy/Robert.Audi_The.Cambrid ge.Dictionary.of.Philosophy -/- The 2015 third edition will be available soon. Before you think of buying it read some reviews on Amazon and read reviews of its competition: For example, my review of the 2008 Oxford Companion to Philosophy, History and Philosophy of Logic,29:3,291-292. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01445340701300429 -/- Some of the entries have already been found to be flawed. For example, Tarski’s expression ‘materially adequate’ was misinterpreted in at least one article and it was misused in another where ‘materially correct’ should have been used. The discussion provides an opportunity to bring more flaws to light. -/- Acknowledgements: Each of these entries was presented at meetings of The Buffalo Logic Dictionary Project sponsored by The Buffalo Logic Colloquium. The members of the colloquium read drafts before the meetings and were generous with corrections, objections, and suggestions. Usually one 90-minute meeting was devoted to one entry although in some cases, for example, “axiomatic method”, took more than one meeting. Moreover, about half of the entries are rewrites of similarly named entries in the 1995 first edition. Besides the help received from people in Buffalo, help from elsewhere was received by email. We gratefully acknowledge the following: José Miguel Sagüillo, John Zeis, Stewart Shapiro, Davis Plache, Joseph Ernst, Richard Hull, Concha Martinez, Laura Arcila, James Gasser, Barry Smith, Randall Dipert, Stanley Ziewacz, Gerald Rising, Leonard Jacuzzo, George Boger, William Demopolous, David Hitchcock, John Dawson, Daniel Halpern, William Lawvere, John Kearns, Ky Herreid, Nicolas Goodman, William Parry, Charles Lambros, Harvey Friedman, George Weaver, Hughes Leblanc, James Munz, Herbert Bohnert, Robert Tragesser, David Levin, Sriram Nambiar, and others. -/- . (shrink)
Gómez-Torrente’s papers have made important contributions to vindicate Tarski’s model-theoretic account of the logical properties in the face of Etchemendy’s criticisms. However, at some points his vindication depends on interpreting the Tarskian account as purportedly modally deflationary, i.e., as not intended to capture the intuitive modal element in the logical properties, that logical consequence is (epistemic or alethic) necessary truth-preservation. Here it is argued that the views expressed in Tarski’s seminal work do not support this modally deflationary interpretation, (...) even if Tarski himself was sceptical about modalities. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to show that the account of objective truth taken for granted by logicians at least since the publication in 1933 of Tarski’s “The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages” arose out of a tradition of philosophical thinking initiated by Bolzano and Brentano. The paper shows more specifically that certain investigations of states of affairs and other objectual correlates of judging acts, investigations carried out by Austrian and Polish philosophers around the turn of the (...) century, formed part of the background of views that led to standard current accounts of the objectivity of truth. It thus lends support to speculations on the role of Brentano and his heirs in contemporary logical philosophy advanced by Jan Wolenski in his masterpiece of 1989 on the Logic and philosophy in the Lvov-Warsaw School. (shrink)
Equality and identity. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 19 (2013) 255-6. (Coauthor: Anthony Ramnauth) Also see https://www.academia.edu/s/a6bf02aaab This article uses ‘equals’ [‘is equal to’] and ‘is’ [‘is identical to’, ‘is one and the same as’] as they are used in ordinary exact English. In a logically perfect language the oxymoron ‘the numbers 3 and 2+1 are the same number’ could not be said. Likewise, ‘the number 3 and the number 2+1 are one number’ is just as bad from a logical point (...) of view. In normal English these two sentences are idiomatically taken to express the true proposition that ‘the number 3 is the number 2+1’. Another idiomatic convention that interferes with clarity about equality and identity occurs in discussion of numbers: it is usual to write ‘3 equals 2+1’ when “3 is 2+1” is meant. When ‘3 equals 2+1’ is written there is a suggestion that 3 is not exactly the same number as 2+1 but that they merely have the same value. This becomes clear when we say that two of the sides of a triangle are equal if the two angles they subtend are equal or have the same measure. -/- Acknowledgements: Robert Barnes, Mark Brown, Jack Foran, Ivor Grattan-Guinness, Forest Hansen, David Hitchcock, Spaulding Hoffman, Calvin Jongsma, Justin Legault, Joaquin Miller, Tania Miller, and Wyman Park. -/- ► JOHN CORCORAN AND ANTHONY RAMNAUTH, Equality and identity. Philosophy, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4150, USA E-mail: corcoran@buffalo.edu The two halves of one line are equal but not identical [one and the same]. Otherwise the line would have only one half! Every line equals infinitely many other lines, but no line is [identical to] any other line—taking ‘identical’ strictly here and below. Knowing that two lines equaling a third are equal is useful; the condition “two lines equaling a third” often holds. In fact any two sides of an equilateral triangle is equal to the remaining side! But could knowing that two lines being [identical to] a third are identical be useful? The antecedent condition “two things identical to a third” never holds, nor does the consequent condition “two things being identical”. If two things were identical to a third, they would be the third and thus not be two things but only one. The plural predicate ‘are equal’ as in ‘All diameters of a given circle are equal’ is useful and natural. ‘Are identical’ as in ‘All centers of a given circle are identical’ is awkward or worse; it suggests that a circle has multiple centers. Substituting equals for equals [replacing one of two equals by the other] makes sense. Substituting identicals for identicals is empty—a thing is identical only to itself; substituting one thing for itself leaves that thing alone, does nothing. There are as many types of equality as magnitudes: angles, lines, planes, solids, times, etc. Each admits unit magnitudes. And each such equality analyzes as identity of magnitude: two lines are equal [in length] if the one’s length is identical to the other’s. Tarski [1] hardly mentioned equality-identity distinctions (pp. 54-63). His discussion begins: -/- Among the logical concepts […], the concept of IDENTITY or EQUALITY […] has the greatest importance. -/- Not until page 62 is there an equality-identity distinction. His only “notion of equality”, if such it is, is geometrical congruence—having the same size and shape—an equivalence relation not admitting any unit. Does anyone but Tarski ever say ‘this triangle is equal to that’ to mean that the first is congruent to that? What would motivate him to say such a thing? This lecture treats the history and philosophy of equality-identity distinctions. [1] ALFRED TARSKI, Introduction to Logic, Dover, New York, 1995. [This is expanded from the printed abstract.] . (shrink)
This papers discuss the place, if any, of Convention T (the condition of material adequacy of the proper definition of truth formulated by Tarski) in the truth-makers account offered by Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons and Barry Smith. It is argued that although Tarski’s requirement seems entirely acceptable in the frameworks of truth-makers theories for the first-sight, several doubts arise under a closer inspection. In particular, T-biconditionals have no clear meaning as sentences about truth-makers. Thus, truth-makers theory cannot be (...) considered as the semantic theory of truth enriched by metaphysical (ontological) data. The problem of truth-makers for sentences about future events is discussed at the end of the paper. (shrink)
In their (2008) article Liar-Like Paradox and Object Language Features C.S. Jenkins and Daniel Nolan (henceforth, JN) argue that it is possible to construct Liar-like paradox in a metalanguage even though its object language is not semantically closed. I do not take issue with this claim. I find fault though with the following points contained in JN’s article: First, that it is possible to construct Liar-like paradox in a metalanguage, even though this metalanguage is not semantically closed. Second, that the (...) presented examples of Liar-like paradox are supposed to be counterexamples to Tarski’s diagnosis of the classic Liar paradox. Third, that JN fail to notice Tarski’s postulate. And finally, that JN fail to recognize that the world they are pondering is not among the possible worlds. (shrink)
JOHN CORCORAN AND WILIAM FRANK. Surprises in logic. Bulletin of Symbolic Logic. 19 253. Some people, not just beginning students, are at first surprised to learn that the proposition “If zero is odd, then zero is not odd” is not self-contradictory. Some people are surprised to find out that there are logically equivalent false universal propositions that have no counterexamples in common, i. e., that no counterexample for one is a counterexample for the other. Some people would be surprised to (...) find out that in normal first-order logic existential import is quite common: some universals “Everything that is S is P” —actually quite a few—imply their corresponding existentials “Something that is S is P”. Anyway, perhaps contrary to its title, this paper is not a cataloging of surprises in logic but rather about the mistakes that did or might have or might still lead people to think that there are no surprises in logic. The paper cataloging of surprises in logic is on our “to-do” list. -/- ► JOHN CORCORAN AND WILIAM FRANK, Surprises in logic. Philosophy, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260-4150, USA E-mail: corcoran@buffalo.edu There are many surprises in logic. Peirce gave us a few. Russell gave Frege one. Löwenheim gave Zermelo one. Gödel gave some to Hilbert. Tarski gave us several. When we get a surprise, we are often delighted, puzzled, or skeptical. Sometimes we feel or say “Nice!”, “Wow, I didn’t know that!”, “Is that so?”, or the like. Every surprise belongs to someone. There are no disembodied surprises. Saying there are surprises in logic means that logicians experience surprises doing logic—not that among logical propositions some are intrinsically or objectively “surprising”. The expression “That isn’t surprising” often denigrates logical results. Logicians often aim for surprises. In fact, [1] argues that logic’s potential for surprises helps motivate its study and, indeed, helps justify logic’s existence as a discipline. Besides big surprises that change logicians’ perspectives, the logician’s daily life brings little surprises, e.g. that Gödel’s induction axiom alone implies Robinson’s axiom. Sometimes wild guesses succeed. Sometimes promising ideas fail. Perhaps one of the least surprising things about logic is that it is full of surprises. Against the above is Wittgenstein’s surprising conclusion : “Hence there can never be surprises in logic”. This paper unearths basic mistakes in [2] that might help to explain how Wittgenstein arrived at his false conclusion and why he never caught it. The mistakes include: unawareness that surprise is personal, confusing logicians having certainty with propositions having logical necessity, confusing definitions with criteria, and thinking that facts demonstrate truths. People demonstrate truths using their deductive know-how and their knowledge of facts: facts per se are epistemically inert. [1] JOHN CORCORAN, Hidden consequence and hidden independence. This Bulletin, vol.16, p. 443. [2] LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Kegan Paul, London, 1921. -/-. (shrink)
Halbach has argued that Tarski biconditionals are not ontologically conservative over classical logic, but his argument is undermined by the fact that he cannot include a theory of arithmetic, which functions as a theory of syntax. This article is an improvement on Halbach's argument. By adding the Tarski biconditionals to inclusive negative free logic and the universal closure of minimal arithmetic, which is by itself an ontologically neutral combination, one can prove that at least one thing exists. The (...) result can then be strengthened to the conclusion that infinitely many things exist. Those things are not just all Gödel codes of sentences but rather all natural numbers. Against this background inclusive negative free logic collapses into noninclusive free logic, which collapses into classical logic. The consequences for ontological deflationism with respect to truth are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the cleavage between the theory of reference and the theory of meaning, which under the influence of Quine has dominated a large part of the philosophy of language of the last fifty years, is based on a misrepresentation of Tarski's achievement and on an overestimation of the scope and value of disquotation. In particular, I show that, if we accept Davidson's critique of disquotation, the same kind of reasons that Quine offered in opposition (...) to the Carnapian theory of meaning also apply, mutatis mutandis, to the Tarskian theory of reference. (shrink)
One of the most fundamental questions in the philosophy of mathematics concerns the relation between truth and formal proof. The position according to which the two concepts are the same is called deflationism, and the opposing viewpoint substantialism. In an important result of mathematical logic, Kurt Gödel proved in his first incompleteness theorem that all consistent formal systems containing arithmetic include sentences that can neither be proved nor disproved within that system. However, such undecidable Gödel sentences can be established to (...) be true once we expand the formal system with Alfred Tarski s semantical theory of truth, as shown by Stewart Shapiro and Jeffrey Ketland in their semantical arguments for the substantiality of truth. According to them, in Gödel sentences we have an explicit case of true but unprovable sentences, and hence deflationism is refuted. -/- Against that, Neil Tennant has shown that instead of Tarskian truth we can expand the formal system with a soundness principle, according to which all provable sentences are assertable, and the assertability of Gödel sentences follows. This way, the relevant question is not whether we can establish the truth of Gödel sentences, but whether Tarskian truth is a more plausible expansion than a soundness principle. In this work I will argue that this problem is best approached once we think of mathematics as the full human phenomenon, and not just consisting of formal systems. When pre-formal mathematical thinking is included in our account, we see that Tarskian truth is in fact not an expansion at all. I claim that what proof is to formal mathematics, truth is to pre-formal thinking, and the Tarskian account of semantical truth mirrors this relation accurately. -/- However, the introduction of pre-formal mathematics is vulnerable to the deflationist counterargument that while existing in practice, pre-formal thinking could still be philosophically superfluous if it does not refer to anything objective. Against this, I argue that all truly deflationist philosophical theories lead to arbitrariness of mathematics. In all other philosophical accounts of mathematics there is room for a reference of the pre-formal mathematics, and the expansion of Tarkian truth can be made naturally. Hence, if we reject the arbitrariness of mathematics, I argue in this work, we must accept the substantiality of truth. Related subjects such as neo-Fregeanism will also be covered, and shown not to change the need for Tarskian truth. -/- The only remaining route for the deflationist is to change the underlying logic so that our formal languages can include their own truth predicates, which Tarski showed to be impossible for classical first-order languages. With such logics we would have no need to expand the formal systems, and the above argument would fail. From the alternative approaches, in this work I focus mostly on the Independence Friendly (IF) logic of Jaakko Hintikka and Gabriel Sandu. Hintikka has claimed that an IF language can include its own adequate truth predicate. I argue that while this is indeed the case, we cannot recognize the truth predicate as such within the same IF language, and the need for Tarskian truth remains. In addition to IF logic, also second-order logic and Saul Kripke s approach using Kleenean logic will be shown to fail in a similar fashion. (shrink)
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