Chapter

Tarski's Definition of Truth

Scott Soames

in Understanding Truth

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780195123357
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872114 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195123352.003.0004
 Tarski's Definition of Truth

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This chapter provides a detailed explanation of Tarski's definition of truth for formalized languages. It begins by indicating how he conceived the problem, how his criterion of adequacy guarantees that any definition satisfying it introduces a predicate that applies to all and only object‐language truths, and how he approached the technical problem of formulating a definition that would allow him to derive what he regarded as a “partial definition” of truth for each sentence of the object language. Next, the formal techniques employed in his inductive definitions are explained, along with the method of turning those definitions into explicit definitions (where possible), and the way in which his definitions can be shown to be materially adequate. The explication concludes with a discussion of the relationship between truth and proof in the language of arithmetic, and the outlines of Tarski's theorem of the arithmetic indefinability of arithmetical truth.

Keywords: arithmetic; arithmetical truth; definition; formalized languages; material adequacy; object language; proof; Tarski; truth

Chapter.  16117 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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