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Studia Logica

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp 11–29 | Cite as

The Fundamental Problem of General Proof Theory

  • Dag PrawitzEmail author
Open Access
Article

Abstract

I see the question what it is that makes an inference valid and thereby gives a proof its epistemic power as the most fundamental problem of general proof theory. It has been surprisingly neglected in logic and philosophy of mathematics with two exceptions: Gentzen’s remarks about what justifies the rules of his system of natural deduction and proposals in the intuitionistic tradition about what a proof is. They are reviewed in the paper and I discuss to what extent they succeed in answering what a proof is. Gentzen’s ideas are shown to give rise to a new notion of valid argument. At the end of the paper I summarize and briefly discuss an approach to the problem that I have proposed earlier.

Keywords

Proof theory Proof Valid inference Valid argument Gentzen’s naturaldeduction Intuitionism 

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© The Author(s) 2018

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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