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From Wittgenstein’s N-operator to a New Notation for Some Decidable Modal Logics

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Wittgenstein’s N-operator is a ‘primitive sign’ which shows every complex proposition is the result of the truth-functional combination of a finite number of component propositions, and thus provides a mechanical method to determine logical truth. The N-operator can be interpreted as a generalized Sheffer stroke. In this paper, I introduce a new ‘primitive sign’ that is a hybrid of generalized Sheffer stroke and modality, and give a uniform expression for modal formulas. The general form of modal formula in the new notation is [A0···An−1; B0···Bm−1], which is semantically equivalent to ¬A0∨···∨¬ An−1∨◊ (¬B0∨···∨¬Bm−1). Based on this new notation, I propose several analytic axiomatic systems for some decidable modal logics. Every axiom of these analytic systems is an ‘Atomic-Sheffer’, which is the result of the combination of a finite number of component propositions. The inferential rules are analytic in that the set of elementary propositions that are combined in the premiss overlaps the set of elementary propositions combined in the conclusion, in virtue of which every complex proposition can be reduced to an ‘Atomic-Sheffer’ at the ultimate level. The analytic modal systems have the same classical inferential rules. Different modal systems can be built by adding special modal inferential rules. In an analytic system for modal logic L, valid formulas on L-models can be proved by a purely mechanical method.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institution of Marxism Research, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, People’s Republic of China

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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