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The undecidability of the disjunction property of propositional logics and other related problems

  • Alexander Chagrov (a1) and Michael Zakharyaschev (a2)

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‘How can we recognize, given axioms and inference rules of a calculus, whether the calculus has such-and-such property?’ A question of this kind arises whenever we deal with a new logic system. For large families of logics, this question may be considered as an algorithmic problem, and a property is called decidable in a given family if there exists an algorithm which is capable of deciding, for a finite axiomatics of a calculus in the family, whether or not it has the property.

In the class of intermediate propositional logics, for instance, nontrivial properties such as the tabularity, pretabularity, and interpolation property (Maksimova [1972, 1977]) are decidable. However, for many other important properties—decidability, finite model property, disjunction property, Halldén-completeness, etc.—effective criteria were not found in spite of considerable efforts.

In this paper we show that the difficulties in investigating these properties in the classes of intermediate logics and normal modal logics containing S4 are of principal nature, since all of them turn out to be algorithmically undecidable. In other words, there are no algorithms which, given a finite set of axioms of an intermediate or modal calculus, can recognize whether or not it is decidable, Halldén-complete, has the finite model or disjunction property.

The first results concerning the undecidability of properties of calculi seem to have been obtained by Linial and Post [1949], who proved the undecidability of the problem of equivalence to classical calculus in the class of all propositional calculi with the same language as the classical one and the two inference rules: modus ponens and substitution. Kuznetsov [1963] generalized this result having proved the undecidability of the problem of equivalence to any fixed intermediate calculus (for instance, to intuitionistic calculus or even the inconsistent one). However, these results will not hold if we confine ourselves only to the class of intermediate logics, though the problem of equivalence to the undecidable intermediate calculus of Shehtman [1978] is clearly undecidable in this class as well.

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The undecidability of the disjunction property of propositional logics and other related problems

  • Alexander Chagrov (a1) and Michael Zakharyaschev (a2)

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