Non-classical logic

Non-classical logic

Non-classical logics (and sometimes alternative logics) is the name given to formal systems which differ in a significant way from standard logical systems such as propositional and predicate logic. There are several ways in which this is done, including by way of extensions, deviations, and variations. The aim of these departures is to make it possible to construct different models of logical consequence and logical truth.[1]

Philosophical logic, especially in theoretical computer science, is understood to encompass and focus on non-classical logics, although the term has other meanings as well.[2]


Examples of non-classical logics

Classification of non-classical logics

In Deviant Logic (1974) Susan Haack divided non-classical logics into deviant, quasi-deviant, and extended logics.[3] The proposed classification is non-exclusive; a logic may be both a deviation and an extension of classical logic.[4] A few other authors have adopted the main distinction between deviation and extension in non-classical logics.[5][6][7] John P. Burgess uses a similar classification but calls the two main classes anti-classical and extra-classical.[8]

In an extension, new and different logical constants are added, for instance the "\Box" in modal logic which stands for "necessarily."[5] In extensions of a logic,

  • the set of well-formed formulas generated is a proper superset of the set of well-formed formulas generated by classical logic.
  • the set of theorems generated is a proper superset of the set of theorems generated by classical logic, but only in that the novel theorems generated by the extended logic are only a result of novel well-formed formulas.

(See also Conservative extension.)

In a deviation, the usual logical constants are used, but are given a different meaning than usual. Only a subset of the theorems from the classical logic hold. A typical example is intuitionistic logic, where the law of excluded middle does not hold.[8][7]

Additionally, one can identify a variations (or variants), where the content of the system remains the same, while the notation may change substantially. For instance many-sorted predicate logic is considered a just variation of predicate logic.[5]

This classification ignores however semantic equivalences. For instance, Gödel showed that all theorems from intuitionistic logic have an equivalent theorem in the classical modal logic S4. The result has been generalized to superintuitionistic logics and extensions of S4.[9]

The theory of abstract algebraic logic has also provided means to classify logics, with most results having been obtained for propositional logics. The current algebraic hierarchy of propositional logics has five levels, defined in terms of properties of their Leibniz operator: protoalgebraic, (finitely) equivalential, and (finitely) algebraizable.[10]

Attitudes toward non-classical logics

In a recent academic survey, 51.5% of philosophers polled expressed belief in classical logic; 15.3% non-classical logic; and 33% 'other.' See:


  1. ^ Logic for philosophy, Theodore Sider
  2. ^ John P. Burgess (2009). Philosophical logic. Princeton University Press. pp. vii-viii. ISBN 9780691137896. 
  3. ^ Susan Haack (1974). Deviant logic: some philosophical issues. CUP Archive. p. 4. ISBN 9780521205009. 
  4. ^ Susan Haack (1978). Philosophy of logics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 204. ISBN 9780521293297. 
  5. ^ a b c L. T. F. Gamut (1991). Logic, language, and meaning, Volume 1: Introduction to Logic. University of Chicago Press. pp. 156–157. ISBN 9780226280851. 
  6. ^ Seiki Akama (1997). Logic, language, and computation. Springer. p. 3. ISBN 9780792343769. 
  7. ^ a b Robert Hanna (2006). Rationality and logic. MIT Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 9780262083492. 
  8. ^ a b John P. Burgess (2009). Philosophical logic. Princeton University Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9780691137896. 
  9. ^ Dov M. Gabbay; Larisa Maksimova (2005). Interpolation and definability: modal and intuitionistic logics. Clarendon Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780198511748. 
  10. ^ D. Pigozzi (2001). "Abstract algebraic logic". In M. Hazewinkel. Encyclopaedia of mathematics: Supplement Volume III. Springer. pp. 2–13. ISBN 1402001983.  Also online.

Further reading

  • Graham Priest (2008). An introduction to non-classical logic: from if to is (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521854337. 
  • Dov M. Gabbay (1998). Elementary logics: a procedural perspective. Prentice Hall Europe. ISBN 9780137263653.  A revised version was published as D. M. Gabbay (2007). Logic for Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology. College Publications. ISBN 9781904987390. 
  • John P. Burgess (2009). Philosophical logic. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691137896.  Brief introduction to non-classical logics, with a primer on the classical one.
  • Lou Goble, ed (2001). The Blackwell guide to philosophical logic. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 9780631206934.  Chapters 7-16 cover the main non-classical logics of broad interest today.

External links

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