The Concepts of Proof and Ground

  • Dag PrawitzEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 412)


Convinced that the concepts of proof and ground should be a main concern of proof theory as mathesis universalis, I discuss in this paper how one may try to develop Bolzano’s ideas about grounds in the light of Gentzen’s ideas about the justification of inferences. At the end, I briefly consider whether the result can give some insights about the concepts of proof and ground. I proceed in a somewhat experimental fashion, starting with proposals for how to specify grounds for propositions of various forms that stay fairly close to Bolzano’s ideas. I then apply results from present day proof theory and show how one has to depart successively from Bolzano in order to get a tenable concept of ground. The final definition of ground that I arrive at may be seen as a combination of ideas from Bolzano and Gentzen and later results in proof theory.



I am indebted to professor Göran Sundholm for helpful comments to the initial part of the manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

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