, Volume 191, Issue 14, pp 3393–3406 | Cite as

Tarski’s one and only concept of truth

  • Jeroen Smid


In a recent article, David (Tarski’s convention T and the concept of truth, pp. 133–156, 2008) distinguishes between two interpretations of Tarski’s work on truth. The standard interpretation has it that Tarski gave us a definition of truth in-L within the meta-language; the non-standard interpretation, that Tarski did not give us a definition of true sentence in L, but rather a definition of truth, and Tarski does so for L within the meta-language. The difference is crucial: for on the standard view, there are different concepts of truth, while in the alternative interpretation there is just one concept. In this paper we will have a brief look at the distinction between these two interpretations and at the arguments David gives for each view. We will evaluate one of David’s arguments for the alternative view by looking at Tarski’s ‘On the concept of truth in formalized languages’ (CTF), and his use of the term ‘extension’ therein, which, we shall find, yields no conclusive evidence for either position. Then we will look at how Tarski treats ‘satisfaction’, an essential concept for his definition of ‘true sentence’. It will be argued that, in light of how Tarski talks about ‘satisfaction’ in Sect. 4 of ‘CTF’ and his claims in the Postscript, the alternative view is more likely than the standard one.


Tarski Truth Satisfaction True-in-L 



On the concept of truth in formalized languages


Extension Principle



Many thanks to Arianna Betti, Iris Loeb, and three anonymous reviewers for commenting on previous versions of this paper. Thanks also to Jonathan Sozek for proofreading my manuscript. Whatever mistakes remain are entirely my own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy & Cognitive ScienceLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Faculty of PhilosophyVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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