Natural Deduction Systems in Propositional Logic

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10 Questions

What is the foundation for natural deduction?

Propositional logic

Which inference rule allows one to begin a subproof by assuming a statement?


In natural deduction, what does the Implication Elimination rule allow you to infer?


What can you infer using the Disjunction Elimination rule?


What is the essential purpose of assumptions in natural deduction?

To manage and explore consequences

Which strategic method in natural deduction involves assuming the negation of the statement to be proven?

Proof by Contradiction

What does an implication P → Q state in propositional logic?

If P is true, Q must be true

In natural deduction, what is the purpose of an implication when no assumptions about P are made?

It cannot directly conclude Q

Which inference rule is typically used to handle contradictions in natural deduction?


What strategy in natural deduction involves starting with the antecedent of the implication to be proven?

Direct Proof

Study Notes

Diving into Natural Deduction Systems: Propositional Logic, Inferences, Strategies, and Assumptions

Natural deduction is a powerful and intuitive system for building logical proofs, particularly in the realm of propositional logic. It provides a clear and organized approach to demonstrating the validity of logical arguments, helping us to understand the relationships between statements and build rigorous, step-by-step proofs.

Propositional Logic

Propositional logic is the foundation for natural deduction in that it deals with the connections between statements, also known as propositions. Statements can take the form of "true" or "false" (or "1" or "0" in some formal contexts), and are represented by capital letters such as P, Q, and R. Propositional connectives like "and" (∧), "or" (∨), "not" (¬), and "implies" (→) are used to create more complex statements from simpler ones.

Inference Rules

Natural deduction relies on a set of inference rules for constructing proofs. These rules allow us to move from one set of statements to another, making logical leaps and building on previous steps in a systematic manner. Some common inference rules include:

  1. Assumption (⊸I): Begin a subproof by assuming a statement for the sake of deriving a conclusion.
  2. Implication Elimination (→E): If you have a statement A → B and A, then you can infer B.
  3. Disjunction Elimination (∨E): If you have a statement A ∨ B and not-A, then you can infer B.

Proof Strategies

To construct proofs using natural deduction, we employ various strategic methods that help us move from an initial set of assumptions to a desired conclusion. Some common strategies include:

  1. Direct Proof: Start with the assumption of the antecedent of the implication you wish to prove and proceed through a series of inferences to derive the consequent.
  2. Indirect Proof (Proof by Contradiction): Assume the negation of the statement you wish to prove and show that this leads to a contradiction, thereby demonstrating that the original statement must be true.

Assumptions and Implications

An essential part of natural deduction is managing assumptions. Statements that are assumed for the duration of a proof are called assumptions, and they can be discarded once their role in the proof is fulfilled. Assumptions help us to build a subproof in which we explore the consequences of a given statement, and then we use the inference rules to move back to the main proof.

Implications are a special type of statement in propositional logic that relies on assumptions. An implication P → Q states that if P is true, then Q must also be true. However, without making any assumptions about P, we cannot directly conclude Q. We can only conclude Q from an implication P → Q if we have established P as true.


Consider the following logical statement:

(P ∨ Q) → R

To prove this using natural deduction, we might employ an indirect proof strategy:

  1. Assume ¬R (contradiction assumption)
  2. By ⊸I, derive a subproof:
    1. P ∨ Q (assumption)
    2. ¬R, P ∨ Q (assumption + 1)
  3. Apply ∨E to get: P or Q
  4. Assume P (subproof 1)
  5. By ⊸I, derive a subproof:
    1. R (assumption)
    2. R, P ∨ Q (assumption + 1)
    3. ∴ R → (P ∨ Q) (→E)
    4. ∴ (P → R) (⊸E)
    5. ∴ ¬(P ∧ ¬R) (→E)
    6. By ∧E, derive: P and ¬(P ∧ ¬R)
    7. By ⊸I, derive a subproof:
      1. P (assumption)
      2. ¬(P ∧ ¬R) (assumption + 1)
      3. ¬P ∴ ¬R (contradiction)
      4. ∴ False
    8. False contradicts our initial assumption ¬R.
    9. By ⊸I, we have shown that if ¬R, then a contradiction arises, implying that R must be true.
    10. ∴ (P → R) (→E)

By applying this indirect proof strategy, we have shown that if P ∨ Q, then R.

Natural deduction systems are powerful tools for developing proofs in propositional logic, and they provide a clear and organized framework for working through logical arguments.

Explore the foundational concepts of natural deduction systems in propositional logic, including inference rules, proof strategies, assumptions, and implications. Learn how to construct logical proofs step by step using direct and indirect proof methods.

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