Alfred Tarski, one of the greatest logicians of all time, is widely thought of as 'the man who defined truth'. His work on the concepts of truth and logical consequence are cornerstones of modern logic, influencing developments in mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. Tarski was a charismatic teacher and zealous promoter of his view of logic as the foundation of all rational thought, a bon vivant and a womanizer, who played the 'great man' to the hilt. A fortuitous trip to the United States at the outbreak of World War II saved his life and turned his career around, even while it separated him from his family for years. From the cafes of Warsaw and Vienna to the mountains and deserts of California, this first full-length biography places Tarski in the social, intellectual, and historical context of his times and presents a frank, vivid picture of a personally and professionally passionate man - interlaced with an account of his major scientific achievements.
Anita Burdman Feferman is an independent scholar and writer. She is the author of Politics, Logic and Love: The Life of Jean van Heijenoort (published in paperback as From Trotsky to Godel: The Life of Jean van Heijenoort). She knew Alfred Tarski socially for thirty years. Solomon Feferman is on the faculty of Stanford University, California, where he is Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy. He is a recipient of the Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has held a Guggenheim fellowship twice. He is the author of In the Light of Logic and the editor-in-chief of the multi-volume Kurt Godel: Collected Works. He was one of Tarski's students at UC Berkeley in the 1950s.
1. The two Tarskis; 2. Independence and university; Interlude I. The Banach-Tarski paradox, set theory and the axiom of choice; 3. Polot! The Polish attribute; Interlude II. The completeness and decidability of algebra and geometry; 4. A wider sphere of influence; Interlude III. Truth and definability; 5. How the 'Unity of Science' saved Tarski's life; 6. Berkeley is so far from Princeton; 7. Building a school; Interlude IV. The publication campaigns; 8 'Papa Tarski' and his students; 9. Three meetings and two departures; 10. Logic and methodology, center stage; 11. Heydays; Interlude V. Model theory and the 1963 symposium; 12. Around the world; 13. Los Angeles and Berkeley; Interlude VI. Algebras of logic; 14. A decade of honors; 15. The last times.