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The Tarskian turn. Deflationism and axiomatic truth. (English) Zbl 1242.03001
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (ISBN 978-0-262-01586-8/hbk). xii, 165 p. (2011).
Publisher’s description: In this book, the author investigates the relationship between formal theories of truth and contemporary philosophical approaches to truth. The work of mathematician and logician Alfred Tarski (1901–1983) marks the transition from substantial to deflationary views about truth. Deflationism – which holds that the notion of truth is light and insubstantial – can be and has been made more precise in multiple ways. Crucial in making the deflationary intuition precise is its relation to formal or logical aspects of the notion of truth. Allowing that semantical theories of truth may have heuristic value, the author focuses on axiomatic theories of truth developed since Tarski and their connection to deflationism.
Arguing that the insubstantiality of truth has been misunderstood in the literature, the author proposes and defends a new kind of deflationism, inferential deflationism, according to which truth is a concept without a nature or essence. He argues that this way of viewing the concept of truth, inspired by a formalization of Kripke’s theory of truth, flows naturally from the best formal theories of truth that are currently available. Alternating between logical and philosophical chapters, the book steadily progresses toward stronger theories of truth. Technicality cannot be altogether avoided in the subject under discussion, but the author attempts to strike a balance between the need for logical precision on the one hand and the need to make his argument accessible to philosophers.

MSC:
03-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to mathematical logic and foundations
03-03 History of mathematical logic and foundations
03A05 Philosophical and critical aspects of logic and foundations
00A30 Philosophy of mathematics
01A60 History of mathematics in the 20th century
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