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Hintikka was born in Helsingin maalaiskunta (now Vantaa). After teaching for a number of years at Florida State University, Stanford, University of Helsinki, and the Academy of Finland, he is currently Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. The prolific author or co-author of over 30 books and over 300 scholarly articles has contributed to mathematical logic, philosophical logic, the philosophy of mathematics, epistemology, language theory, and the philosophy of science. His works have appeared in over nine languages.
Hintikka is regarded as the founder of formal epistemic logic and of game semantics for logic. Early in his career, he devised a semantics of modal logic essentially analogous to Saul Kripke's frame semantics, and discovered the now widely taught semantic tableau, independently of Evert Willem Beth. In recent decades, he has worked mainly on game semantics, and on independence-friendly logic, known for its "branching quantifiers", which he believes do better justice to our intuitions about quantifiers than does conventional first-order logic. He has done important exegetical work on Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Charles Sanders Peirce. Hintikka's work can be seen as a continuation of the analytic tendency in philosophy founded by Franz Brentano and Peirce, advanced by Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell, and continued by Rudolf Carnap, Willard Van Orman Quine, and by Hintikka's teacher Georg Henrik von Wright. For instance, in 1998 he wrote The Principles of Mathematics Revisited, which takes an exploratory stance comparable to that Russell made with his The Principles of Mathematics in 1903.
Hintikka edited the academic journal Synthese from 1962 to 2002, and has been a consultant editor for more than ten journals. He was the first vice-president of the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie, the Vice-President of the Institut International de Philosophie (1993–1996), as well as a member of the American Philosophical Association, the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, Association for Symbolic Logic, and a member of the governing board of the Philosophy of Science Association. In 2005, he won the Rolf Schock prize in logic and philosophy "for his pioneering contributions to the logical analysis of modal concepts, in particular the concepts of knowledge and belief". In 1985, he was president of the Florida Philosophical Association.
For a bibliography, see Auxier and Hahn (2006).
- 1962. Knowledge and Belief - An Introduction to the Logic of the Two Notions ISBN 1-904987-08-7
- 1969. Models for Modalities: Selected Essays ISBN 978-90-277-0598-3
- 1975. The intentions of intentionality and other new models for modalities ISBN 978-90-277-0634-8
- 1976. The semantics of questions and the questions of semantics: case studies in the interrelations of logic, semantics, and syntax ISBN 978-95-1950-535-0
- 1989. The Logic of Epistemology and the Epistemology of Logic ISBN 0-7923-0040-8
- 1996. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Half-Truths and One-and-a-Half-Truths ISBN 0-7923-4091-4
- 1996. Lingua Universalis vs Calculus Ratiocinator ISBN 0-7923-4246-1
- 1996. The Principles of Mathematics Revisited ISBN 0-521-62498-3
- 1998. Paradigms for Language Theory and Other Essays ISBN 0-7923-4780-3
- 1998. Language, Truth and Logic in Mathematics ISBN 0-7923-4766-8
- 1999. Inquiry as Inquiry: A Logic of Scientific Discovery ISBN 0-7923-5477-X
- 2004. Analyses of Aristotle ISBN 1-4020-2040-6
- 2007. Socratic Epistemology: Explorations of Knowledge-Seeking by Questioning ISBN 978-0-521-61651-5
- Auxier, R.E., and Hahn, L., eds., 2006. The Philosophy of Jaakko Hintikka (The Library of Living Philosophers). Open Court. Includes a complete bibliography of Hintikka's publications. ISBN 0-8126-9462-7
- Bogdan, Radu, ed., 1987 Jaakko Hintikka, Kluwer Academic Publishers ISBN 90-277-2402-4
- Daniel Kolak, 2001 On Hintikka, Wadsworth ISBN 0-534-58389-X
- Daniel Kolak and John Symons, eds., 2004 Quantifiers, Questions and Quantum Physics: Essays on the Philosophy of Jaakko Hintikka Springer ISBN 1-4020-3210-2
- Rudolf Carnap
- Saul Kripke
- Charles Sanders Peirce
- Willard Van Orman Quine
- Alfred Tarski
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Doxastic logic
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