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The dissertation introduces new sequent-calculi for free first- and second-order logic, and a hyper-sequent calculus for modal logics K, D, T, B, S4, and S5; to attain the calculi for the stronger modal logics, only external structural rules need to be added to the calculus for K, while operational and internal structural rules remain the same. Completeness and cut-elimination are proved for all calculi presented.
Philosophically, the dissertation develops an inferentialist, or proof-theoretic, theory of meaning. It takes as a starting point that the sense of a sentence is determined by the rules governing its use. In particular, there are two features of the use of a sentence that jointly determine its sense, the conditions under which it is coherent to assert that sentence and the conditions under which it is coherent to deny that sentence. The dissertation develops a theory of quantification as marking coherent ways a language can be expanded and modality as the means by which we can reflect on the norms governing the assertion and denial conditions of our language. If the view of quantification that is argued for is correct, then there is no tension between second-order quantification and nominalism. In particular, the ontological commitments one can incur through the use of a quantifier depend wholly on the ontological commitments one can incur through the use of atomic sentences. The dissertation concludes by applying the developed theory of meaning to the metaphysical issue of necessitism and contingentism. Two objections to a logic of contingentism are raised and addressed. The resulting logic is shown to meet all the requirement that the dissertation lays out for a theory of meaning for quantifiers and modal operators.
The principle of universal instantiation plays a pivotal role both in the derivation of intensional paradoxes such as Prior's paradox and Kaplan's paradox and the debate between necessitism and contingentism. We outline a distinctively free logical approach to the intensional paradoxes and note how the free logical outlook allows one to distinguish two different, though allied themes in higher-order necessitism. We examine the costs of this solution and compare it with the more familiar ramificationist approaches to higher-order logic. Our assessment of both approaches is largely pessimistic, and we remain reluctantly inclined to take Prior's and Kaplan's derivations at face value.
In this paper, I motivate a cut free sequent calculus for classical logic with first order quantification, allowing for singular terms free of existential import. Along the way, I motivate a criterion for rules designed to answer Prior’s question about what distinguishes rules for logical concepts, like conjunction from apparently similar rules for putative concepts like Prior’s tonk, and I show that the rules for the quantifiers—and the existence predicate—satisfy that condition.
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