[FOM] Re: Shapiro on natural and formal languages

praatika@mappi.helsinki.fi praatika at mappi.helsinki.fi
Sat Dec 4 07:30:32 EST 2004

John Corcoran <corcoran at buffalo.edu> wrote:
> TARSKI ON FORMALIZED LANGUAGES: I should like to emphasize that when
> using the term "formalized languages" I do not refer exclusively to
> linguistic systems that are formulated entirely in symbols and I do not
> have in mind anything essentially opposed to natural languages.  On the
> contrary, the only formalized languages that seem to be of real interest
> are those which are fragments of natural languages (fragments provided
> with complete vocabularies and precise syntactical rules) or those which
> can at least be adequately translated into natural languages.  Tarski
> 1969/1993, 114.


"It remains perhaps to add that we are not interested here in ‘formal’ 
languages and sciences in one special sense of the word ‘formal’, namely 
sciences to the signs and expressions of which no meaning is attached. For 
such sciences the problem here discussed [of defining the truth] has no 
relevance, it is not even meaningful. We shall always ascribe quite 
concrete and, for us, intelligible meanings to the signs which occur in the 
languages we shall consider." (Tarski 1935, 166-7)

"A formal system 
 for which we are unable to give a single interpretation, 
would, presumably, be of interest to nobody." (Tarski 1941, 129)



Panu Raatikainen

PhD., Docent in Theoretical Philosophy
Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
University of Helsinki
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

E-mail: panu.raatikainen at helsinki.fi

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