What is intuitionistic formalism?

Tarski called himself an intuitionistic formalist.

  • Welcome to Phil.SE! You might want to expand a little on what you mean by 'intuitionistic formalism'; possibly by adding a link; I've heard of 'intuitionism' and 'formalism'; but not the two together - they seem to be at odds with each - which may or may not have provoked your question. Jul 24, 2015 at 20:51
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1 Answer 1


A sort of explanation can be found in this review by Roman Murawski of

Alfred Tarski, Philosophy ofLanguage and Logic by Douglas Patterson

where Murawski writes:

Patterson shows in the book that Tarski’s views were more complex than they are usually taken to be. He argues that both indicated papers made major contributions to representative semantics and model theory. Simultaneously he shows, by careful examination of Tarski’s works, that Tarskis results were in fact motivated by the expressive conception of meaning. He inherited this view from his teacher Stanis?aw Le´sniewski, and Tarski referred to it as “intuitionistic formalism.” Intuitionistic formalism, or intuitive formalism, as it is sometimes called, was the conviction that logical formulas should be meaningful not only from the syntactic but also from the intuitive point of view. Thus Le´sniewski claimed that every language system says something about something, that statements of every formal theory are endowed with meaning. He rejected the interpretation of such theories as games using symbols void of meaning.

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