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Satisfying Predicates: Kleene's Proof of the Hilbert–Bernays Theorem

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The Hilbert–Bernays Theorem establishes that for any satisfiable first-order quantificational schema S, one can write out linguistic expressions that are guaranteed to yield a true sentence of elementary arithmetic when they are substituted for the predicate letters in S. The theorem implies that if L is a consistent, fully interpreted language rich enough to express elementary arithmetic, then a schema S is valid if and only if every sentence of L that can be obtained by substituting predicates of L for predicate letters in S is true. The theorem therefore licenses us to define validity substitutionally in languages rich enough to express arithmetic. The heart of the theorem is an arithmetization of Gödel's completeness proof for first-order predicate logic. Hilbert and Bernays were the first to prove that there is such an arithmetization. Kleene established a strengthened version of it, and Kreisel, Mostowski, and Putnam refined Kleene's result. Despite the later refinements, Kleene's presentation of the arithmetization is still regarded as the standard one. It is highly compressed, however, and very difficult to read. My goals in this paper are expository: to present the basics of Kleene's arithmetization in a less compressed, more easily readable form, in a setting that highlights its relevance to issues in the philosophy of logic, especially to Quine's substitutional definition of logical truth, and to formulate the Hilbert–Bernays Theorem in a way that incorporates Kreisel's, Mostowski's, and Putnam's refinements of Kleene's result.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Indiana University, USA

Publication date: October 2, 2015

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