[FOM] Book announcement

Solomon Feferman sf at csli.stanford.edu
Mon Oct 18 13:09:58 EDT 2004

Anita Burdman Feferman and Solomon Feferman, "Alfred Tarski: Life and
Logic".  (Cambridge University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-521-80240-7).
Also on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.

>From the book jacket:

"Here we have a vivid portrait of Alfred Tarski as a man of enormous
energy and focus, devoted to logic, women and slivovitz, entirely lacking
in self-doubt, and ambivalent about his Jewish heritage. The Fefermans
provide a richly textured account of the cultural, intellectual, and
political worlds in which Tarski lived -- first in interwar Poland and
then in Berkeley, where he built his logic empire. They also draw highly
individualized portraits of the many people who figured in Tarski's life
and career. The work that made Tarski one of logic's giants is lucidly
explained in a series of compact interludes. This is a wonderful book on
many levels." Elliott Sober, Hans Reichenbach Professor of Philosophy,
University of Wisconsin, Madison

"It was a great pleasure to absorb myself in this prodigious work. The
heritage of Tarski's Poland is just one of the many themes which the
authors develop with sympathy, yet unflinchingly reveal as heavy with
conflicts of identity and loyalty. I am amazed at how much they got out of
pre-war Poland and at the way they unfold so much of the interior 'logic
world' in the course of telling the story. An expert 'interlude' is
devoted to explaining the problem of formalising truth, the central spring
of Tarski's creative work." Andrew Hodges, author of Alan Turing: The

"The story of a remarkable Polish mathematician called Alfred Tarski, who
fled the Nazi persecution, came to the United States, and single-handedly
turned the Mathematics Department of the University of California at
Berkeley into the world center for the study of logic. Anita and Solomon
Feferman's captivating biography pulls no punches, describing his
womanizing and his drug use along with his mathematical achievements."
Keith Devlin, Stanford University

"A chain smoker, a heavy drinker, a frequent user of 'speed,' a relentless
womaniser, and a man of Napoleonic self-regard and worldly ambition. This
is not how one pictures an eminent Professor of Logic. And yet, this is
how the great logician, Alfred Tarski, emerges from this marvellous
biography. The Fefermans, of course, are uniquely qualified to lead the
reader through the intricacies of Tarski's work, which they do very
engagingly and with great expository skill. Tarski's colourful personality
is conveyed with prose that is economical, superbly readable and extremely
vivid, and the whole book is a joy to read." Ray Monk, Professor of
Philosophy, Southampton

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