Neutral Free Logic: Motivation, Proof Theory and Models

Journal of Philosophical Logic 52 (2):519-554 (2023)
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Free logics are a family of first-order logics which came about as a result of examining the existence assumptions of classical logic (Hintikka _The Journal of Philosophy_, _56_, 125–137 1959 ; Lambert _Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic_, _8_, 133–144 1967, 1997, 2001 ). What those assumptions are varies, but the central ones are that (i) the domain of interpretation is not empty, (ii) every name denotes exactly one object in the domain and (iii) the quantifiers have existential import. Free logics reject the claim that names need to denote in (ii). _Positive_ free logic concedes that some atomic formulas containing non-denoting names (including self-identity) are true, _negative_ free logic treats them as uniformly false, and _neutral_ free logic as taking a third value. There has been a renewed interest in analyzing proof theory of free logic in recent years, based on intuitionistic logic in Maffezioli and Orlandelli (_Bulletin of the Section of Logic_, _48_(2), 137–158 2019 ) as well as classical logic in Pavlović and Gratzl (_Journal of Philosophical Logic_, _50_, 117–148 2021 ), there for the positive and negative variants. While the latter streamlines the presentation of free logics and offers a more unified approach to the variants under consideration, it does not cover neutral free logic, since there is some lack of both clear formal intuitions on the semantic status of formulas with empty names, as well as a satisfying account of the conditional in this context. We discuss extending the results to this third major variant of free logics. We present a series of G3 sequent calculi adapted from Fjellstad (_Studia Logica_, _105_(1), 93–119 2017, _Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics_, _30_(3), 272–289 2020 ), which possess all the desired structural properties of a good proof system, including admissibility of contraction and all versions of the cut rule. At the same time, we maintain the unified approach to free logics and moreover argue that greater clarity of intuitions is achieved once neutral free logic is conceptualized as consisting of two sub-varieties.



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Edi Pavlović
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München

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