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On the Matter of Essential Richness

Greg Ray
Journal of Philosophical Logic
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Aug., 2005), pp. 433-457
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30226844
Page Count: 25
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On the Matter of Essential Richness
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Abstract

Alfred Tarski (1944) wrote that "the condition of the 'essential richness' of the metalanguage proves to be, not only necessary, but also sufficient for the construction of a satisfactory definition of truth." But it has remained unclear what Tarski meant by an 'essentially richer' metalanguage. Moreover, DeVidi and Solomon (1999) have argued in this Journal that there is nothing that Tarski could have meant by that phrase which would make his pronouncement true. We develop an answer to the historical question of what Tarski meant by 'essentially richer' and pinpoint the general result that stands behind his essential richness claim. In defense of Tarski, we then show that each of the several arguments of DeVidi and Solomon are either moot or mistaken. One of the fruits of our investigation is the reclamation of what Tarski took to be his central result on truth. This is a reclamation since: (i) if one does not understand 'essential richness', one does not know what that result is, and (ii) we must unearth a heretofore unrecognized change that occurs in Tarski's view - an alteration of his main thesis in light of a failing he discovered in it.

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