Halldén, in , has recently pointed out that it is highly undesirable, in a system of sentential calculus, for there to exist two formulas α and β such that: (i) α and β contain no variable in common; (ii) neither α nor β is provable; (iii) α ∨ β is provable. We shall call a system unreasonable (in the sense of Halldén) if there exists a pair of formulas α and β having properties (i), (ii), and (iii). Halldén shows (in ) that the Lewis systems S1 and S3 are unreasonable in this sense; and that the same is true of any system which is between S1 and S3, as well as of every system which is stronger than S3 but weaker than both S4 and S7. In the present note we shall show that this defect does not occur in S4, nor in S5, nor in any “quasi-normal” extension of S5; we give an example, on the other hand, of an unreasonable system which lies between S4 and S5.
When we speak, in what follows, of a system of modal logic, we shall mean a system having the same class of well-formed formulas as have the various Lewis calculi. Thus the well-formed formulas of a system of modal logic, when written in unabbreviated form, are just those formulas which can be built up from sentential variables by use of the binary connective ‘·’ (conjunction sign), and the two unary connectives ‘˜’ (negation sign) and ‘◇’ (possibility sign). We shall, however, also make use of some of the defined signs of Lewis.