A classical quantified modal logic is used to define a “feasible” arithmetic whose provably total functions are exactly the polynomial-time computable functions. Informally, one understands ⃞∝ as “∝ is feasibly demonstrable”.
differs from a system that is as powerful as Peano Arithmetic only by the restriction of induction to ontic (i.e., ⃞-free) formulas. Thus, is defined without any reference to bounding terms, and admitting induction over formulas having arbitrarily many alternations of unbounded quantifiers. The system also uses only a very small set of initial functions.
To obtain the characterization, one extends the Curry-Howard isomorphism to include modal operations. This leads to a realizability translation based on recent results in higher-type ramified recursion. The fact that induction formulas are not restricted in their logical complexity, allows one to use the Friedman A translation directly.
The development also leads us to propose a new Frege rule, the “Modal Extension” rule: if ⊢ ∝ a then ⊢ A ↔ ∝ for new symbol A.