The Significance of Tarski's Theory of Truth

Scott Soames

in Understanding Truth

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780195123357
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199872114 | DOI:
 The Significance of Tarski's Theory of Truth

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Can Tarski's definition of truth be taken to be an analysis of truth – i.e., a method of defining formal truth predicates that are capable of playing the role of truth in all theoretical contexts in which that notion is needed? It is argued that although Tarski's truth predicates can play many of the roles demanded of truth, they cannot play the role of truth in theories of meaning and interpretation. Crucial to the argument is the observation that there is a conceptual connection between our ordinary notions of truth and meaning, in virtue of which statements of the truth conditions of sentences provide some information about their meanings. Since there is no corresponding connection between Tarski's notion of truth and the notion of meaning, statements of the Tarski‐truth conditions of sentences provide no information about meaning. The chapter closes with a detailed defense of Tarski's model‐theoretic analysis of logical truth and logical consequence against John Etchemendy's objections to it.

Keywords: Etchemendy; logical consequence; logical truth; model‐theoretic; Tarski; theories of meaning; truth; truth conditions

Chapter.  27921 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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