Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I am reading Tarski's "The Semantic Conception of Truth" and came across this paragraph which I just had to blog:

It is perhaps worth while saying that semantics as it is conceived in this paper (and in former papers of the author) is a sober and modest discipline which has no pretensions of being a universal patent-medicine for all the ills and diseases of mankind, whether imaginary or real. You will not find in semantics any remedy for decayed teeth or illusions of grandeur or class conflicts. Nor is semantics a device for establishing that everyone except the speaker and his friends is speaking nonsense.
(Sorry if there are typos—I am writing this with vim over ssh from my Treo.)


David said...

Probably the reason Tarski said this is that at the time he wrote, the "general semantics" movement of Count Korzybski, which made claims like the ones to which Tarski refers, was popular.

Alexander R Pruss said...

The last sentence is a jab at logical positivists and others who claim that their opponents' views are nonsense.