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Canonical formulas for K4. Part I: Basic results

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This paper presents a new technique for handling modal logics with transitive frames, i.e. extensions of the modal system K4. In effect, the technique is based on the following fundamental result, to be obtained below in §3.

Given a formula φ, we can effectively construct finite frames 1, …, n which completely characterize the set of all transitive general frames refuting φ. More exactly, an arbitrary general frame refutes φ iff contains a (not necessarily generated) subframe such that (1) i, for some i ϵ {1, …, n}, is a p-morphic image of (after Fine [1985] we say is subreducible to i), (2) is cofinal in , and (3) every point in that is not in does not get into “closed domains” which are uniquely determined in i, by φ.

This purely technical result has, as it turns out, rather unexpected and profound consequences. For instance, it follows at once that if φ determines no closed domains in the frames 1, …, n associated with it, then the normal extension of K4 generated by φ has the finite model property and so is decidable. Moreover, every normal logic axiomatizable by any (even infinite) set of such formulas φ also has the finite model property. This observation would not possibly merit any special attention, were it not for the fact that the class of such logics contains almost all the standard systems within the field of K4 (at least all those mentioned by Segerberg [1971] or Bull and Segerberg [1984]), all logics containing S4.3, all subframe logics of Fine [1985], and a continuum of other logics as well.

References

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Canonical formulas for K4. Part I: Basic results

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