In defense of Tarski on variables
Brian Rabern (Australian National University)

November 19, 2013, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Logic, Epistemology & Metaphysics Forum, Institute of Philosophy

Room 243, second floor
Senate House
London WC1
United Kingdom

Topic areas


Abstract: The theory of quantification developed by Tarski is a fixed point for many debates in metaphysics, formal semantics, and philosophy of logic. Kit Fine (2003,2007) has offered an intriguing set of challenges to Tarski’s account, which threaten to undermine it at its very heart. Fine insists that a version of Russell's "antimony of the variable" plagues all extant treatments of variables, including the standard Tarskian approach. He says, "There are deep problems concerning the role of variables that have never been properly recognized, let alone solved, and once we attempt to solve them we see that they have profound implications not only for our understanding of variables but also for our understanding of other forms of expression and for the general nature of semantics." We show how Fine's arguments can be resisted, and thus that there is no compelling reason to abandon the Tarskian semantics of variables and variable binding. (Bryan Pickel and B. Rabern).

Autumn 2013 Programme links to abstracts)

Tue 22 Oct

Yuri Cath(University of East Anglia)

Revisionary Intellectualism and Gettier


Tue 5 Nov

Susanne Bobzien(All Souls College, Oxford)

The revenge of the heap and how to avoid It


Tue 19 Nov

Brian Rabern(University of Edinburgh)

In defense of Tarski on variables


Tue 3 Dec

Anthony Booth(University of Sussex)

Why is belief involuntary?

Venue: All talks begin at 5.00pm in Room 243, second floor, Senate House, Malet Street, WC1 (except 5 Nov, Room 246).
Directions to Senate House:

If you would like to have dinner with the speaker on the evening of their talk please contact the LEM convenor, Dr Corine Besson: [email protected]


Co-convenors: Dr Corine Besson (Sussex) and Robert Bassett

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