Natural deduction

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In logic and proof theory, natural deduction is a kind of proof calculus in which logical reasoning is expressed by inference rules closely related to the "natural" way of reasoning. This contrasts with the axiomatic systems which instead use axioms as much as possible to express the logical laws of deductive reasoning.



Natural deduction grew out of a context of dissatisfaction with the axiomatizations of deductive reasoning common to the systems of Hilbert, Frege, and Russell (see, e.g., Hilbert system). Such axiomatizations were most famously used by Russell and Whitehead in their mathematical treatise Principia Mathematica. Spurred on by a series of seminars in Poland in 1926 by Łukasiewicz that advocated a more natural treatment of logic, Jaśkowski made the earliest attempts at defining a more natural deduction, first in 1929 using a diagrammatic notation, and later updating his proposal in a sequence of papers in 1934 and 1935. His proposals led to different notations such as Fitch-style calculus (or Fitch's diagrams) or Suppes' method of which e.g. Lemmon gave a variant called system L.

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