STUDIES
IN
PROOF
THEOR Y
LECTURE
NOT ES
)
ISBN 8870881059
© 1984 by « Bibliopolis, edizioni di
Napoli, via Arangio Ruiz 83
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Printed in I taly
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« Grafitalia »
Via Censi dell 'Arco, 25 • Cercola (Napoli)
These
Preface lectures were given in Padova at
tha Laboratorio per
Ricerche 'di Dinamica dei Sistemi e di Elettronica Biomedica o~ the
I
, Cons i g l i o 
Nazionale 
delle 
Ricerche 
during 
the 
month 
of 
June 
1980. 

I am indebted to Dr '. , Enrico Pagello of that laboratory for the op 

portunity of so doing . The audience 
was made 
up 
by philosophers, 

mathematicians and computer scientists. Accordingly, 
I 
tried 
to 
say 

something which might be 
of interes~ to each of 
these 
three 
cat 
t
1 egories. Essentially the same lectures, albeit in a somewhat im proved and more advanced form, were given later in the same year
I as part of the meeting on Konstruktive Mengenlehre und Typentheorie which was organized in Munich by Prof. Dr. Helmut Schwichtenberg,
,
I
~.
te whom I 
am indebted 
for 
the invitation, 
during 
the 
week 
29 
Sep 

~emb~~  
3 October 1980. 

The 
main improvement 
of the Munich 
.l e c t u r es , 
as 
compared wi t h 

those given in Padova, was toe adoption of ·a systematic higher level 

(Ger. Stufe) notation which allows me to 
write 
simply 

Fl (A,B), 
L(A,B), 
W(A,B) , ),(b), 

E(c,d), D(c,d,e), 
R(c ,d,e), T(c;d) 

instead of (Tl x EO A)B(x), 
(L x 
e 
A)B(x) , 
(Wx 
e iI)B(x) , 
(AX)b(x), 
E(c,(x,y)d(x,y», D(c,(x)d(x),(y)e(y»; R(c,d,(x,y)e(x,y» ,
T(c,(x,y,z)d(x,y,z»,
respectively. Moreover, 
the 
use , of higher 
level variables arid con 

stants makes it 
possible 
to 
formulate the 
elimination and equality 

rules 
for 
the cartesian 
product in such a 
way 
that 
they 
follOw 
the 
same 
,pa t t e r n 
as 
the 
elimination 
and equality 
rules 
for all 
the 
other 

type 
forming 
operations. 
In their new formulation, 
these 
rules 
read 

IT elimination 

(y Lx ) 
E. 
B(x) 
(x 
oS 
A» 

C 
E. 
n 
(A ,B) 
d(yl ' 6 
cO.(y» 
, 


F ( c " d) 
6 C ( c ) 

. 
(x 
E 
A) 
(y(x) E. 
B(x) 
(x 
E. 
A» 

b Cx ) 
6 
B(x) 
dey) 
6 C(A(y» 

F(A,(b) ,d) 


re spe ct.t vely. Here y is a 
bound 
function 
variable, 
F 
is 
a new non 

cano~ical (eliminatory) operator by means of which the binary ap 
plication operation can be defined, putting
Ap(c,a) 
== F(c, (y)y(a», 

and 
y(x) 
E. 
B(x) 
(x 
E. 
A) 
is 
an 
assumption, itself hypothetical, which 

has 
been 
put within parentheses 
to 
indicate 
that 
it 
is 
being dis 

charged. 
A program 
of 
the new form 
F(c,d) has value~ provided c has 

value A (b) 
and 
deb) 
has 
value 
e. 
This 
rule 
for 
evaluating F(c,d) 

reduces 
to 
the 
lazy evaluation 
rule for 
Ap(c,a) 
when 
the 
above 
defi 

nition is being made. 
Choosing 
C(z) 
to 
be B(a), 
thus 
independent of 

z, 
and 
d(y) 
to 
be 
y(a), 
the 
new eiimination 
rule 
reduces 
tp 
the 
old 

one and the new equality rule 
to 
the first 
of the two 
old 
equality 
'.
r~les. Moreover, the 
second of these, 
that 
is, 
the 
rule 

C 
E 
n (A,B) 

c 
(Ax)Ap(c,x) E 
n(A,BJ 

can 
be 
derived by means 
of 
the 
~rules in 
the 
same 
way 
as 
the 
rule 

cEI:(A,B) 

c = (p(c) ,q(c») E 
E (A,B) 

is.derived byway 
of example on 
p . 
62 
of the 
main 
text 
. 
Conversely , 

the new elimination and equality rules can be derived 
from 
the 
old 

ones 
by 
making the 
definition 

F(c ,d) 
= 
d( (x)Ap(c ,x». 

So, actually, they are equivalent. 

It 
only remains 
for 
me 
to 
thank Giovanni Sambin for having 
undertaken, at his own suggestion, the considerable work of writing
I and typing these notes, therebf making the lectures accessible to a wider aUdience.
stockholm,
January
1984,
Pel' MartinLof
j
I

 
1 
 

Introductory 
remarks 

, Ma t hema t i ca l 
logic 
and 
th~ relation between 
logic 
and mathematics 

have 
been 
interpreted 
in 
at 
l~ast three different ways: 

(1) 
mathematical 
logic , as 
symbolic logic, 
or logic using mathe  

matical .ymbolism; 

(2) 
mathematical 
logic 'as 
foundations tor philosophy) 
of mathe 

matics; 

(3) 
mathematical 
logic 
as 
logic 
studied by mathematical methods, 

as 
a branch of mathematics. ' 

We 
shall 
here 
mainly 
be 
interested 
in mathematical logic 
in 
the second 

sense. What 
shall 
do 
is also mathematical 
logic 
in 
the 
first sense, 

but 
certainly 
not 
in 
the 
third . 

' The 
principal 
problem 
that 
remained afterP 'rincipia Mathematica 

was 
completed 
was, 
according to 
its 
authors, 
that of justifying the 

axiom of 
reducibility 
(or, 
as we would now say, 
the 
impredicative 
com  

prehension axiom) '. 
The, ramified 
theory of types 
was 
predicative, 
but 
it was not sufficient for deriving even elementary parts of analysis . So th~ axiom of reducibility was ~dded on the pragmatic ground that it
was 
needed, although 
no .atisfactory 
justification 
(explanation) of it 

could be 
provided. 
The 
whole point of 
the 
ramification wa s , then lost , 

so that it might just as well be abolished. What then remained was 

the 
simple theory 
of 
types. Its official justification ( Wittgenstein , 

R~~sey) rests on 
the 
interpretation of propositions 
as truth values 

and propositional functions (of 
one 
or several 
variables; as truth 

functions. The laws of the classical propositional logic are then 

clearly valid, and tion is restricted 
so to 
are the quantifier laws , finite domains. However, 
as it 
long does as quantifica  not seem poss 

ible 
to make sense 
of quantification 
over 
infinite 
domains , like the 

2

domain of natural numbers, on this interpretation of the notions of
proposition and propositional f~nction. For this reason, afuong others,
what we develop here is an intuitionistic theory of types ; which is
also predicative (or 'ramified). It is free from the deficiency of
Russell's ramified theory of types, as regards the possibility of de
veloping elementary parts 
of mathematics, 
like 
the 
theory 
of 
' r e a l 
num 

bers, because of the presence of the operation which allows us to 
form 

the cartesian product of ,a ny given 
family 
of sets, 
in particular, 
the 

set of all functions from one set to another. 

In 
two areas, 
at leasti our language 
~eems to 
have advantages  
over traditional foundational languages. First, ZermeloFraenkel set
theory cannot adequately deal with the foundational problems of cat·
egory theory, where the category of all sets, the category of all
groups, the , category
of
functors
from
one
such
category
to
another
etc. are considered. These problems a~e coped with by means of the
distinction between sets and categories (in the logical or philosophi
cal
sense,
not
in
the
sense
of
category
theory)
which
is
made
in
intu
itionistic type theory. Second, present logical symbolisms are inad
equate as programming languages, which explains why computer scien
tists have developed their own languages (FORTRAN, ALGOL, LISP,
PASCAL,
...
) and systems of proof rules (Hoare ^{1} , Dijkstra ^{2}^{,} • • . ). We
have shown elsewhere ^{3} how the additional richness of ' t y pe theory, as
compared with first order predicate logic, makes it usable as a pro
gramming language.
l
'
C.
A.
Hoare,
An axiomatic
basis
munications
of
the
ACM,
Vol.
12,196 '9,
of
pp.
computer
576580
programming,
and
583.
Com
2
E.
Englewood
W.
Dijkstra,
Cliffs,
N.J .,
A discipline
1976.
of
Programming,
Prentice Hall,
ming,
L.
J.
3
P.
"
MartinLof,
Constructive mathematics
and
computer
program
Logic,
Cohen,
Methodology
and
Philosophy
of Science
VI;
Edited ,by
J.
Los,
H.
Pfeiffer
and
K.P.
Podewski,
NorthHolland,
Amsterdam,
1982,
pp.
153175.
'
 
3 
 

Propositions 
and 
Judgements 

Here the , dis~i~ctionbetween proposition 
(Ger. Satz) 
and 
asser 

tion or 
judgement ' ( Ge r . Urteil) 
is 
essential. 
What we combine 
by means 

of' 
the 
logical 
operations , 
(.l::> , 
, 
& 
v , 
V " 
3 ') 
and hold to 
be true 
are 

propositions. 
When 
we hold 
a 
proposition 
to be 
true , we 
make a j~dge 

ment: ' 

proposition ~JUdgement, 

In 
particular, ' t he 
premisses 
and 
conclusion of 
a 
logical 
inference 
are 

judgements. 

The 
distinction 
between 
propositions 
and 
jUdgements 
was clear 

from Frege to 
Principia. These 
notions 
have 
later be en rep 
1 
aced 
by 
the 

formalistic 
notions 
of formula 
and 
theorem 
(in 
_{a} 
_{f}_{o}_{r}_{m}_{a}_{l} _{s}_{y}_{s}_{t}_{e}_{m}_{)} _{,} 
_{r}_{e}_{} 

spectively. Contrary to formUlas, 
propositions 
are not def'ined 
induc 

tively . So to 
^{s}^{p}^{e}^{a}^{k}^{,} 
^{t}^{h}^{e}^{y} ^{f}^{'}^{o}^{r}^{m} 
^{a}^{n} 
^{o}^{p}^{e}^{n} 
concept, 
In standard 
textbook 

presentations 
of 
first 
order 
logic, 
we 
d' 

can 
~stinguish three 
quite 

separa te 
steps: 
(1) inductive definition of terms and _{f}_{o}_{r}_{m}_{u}_{l}_{a}_{s} _{,}
(2) specif'ication of aXioms and rules _{o}_{f} _{i}_{n}_{f}_{e}_{r}_{e}_{n}_{c}_{e} _{,}
(3) 
semantical interpretation. 

Formulas 
and 
ddt e uc ~ons ' are 
given 
meaning 
only 
through 
semantics 

which 
is 
usually 
done follOWing 
Tarski 
and 
assuming 
' set 
theory . 
, 

What 
we 
do 
here is 
t 
t 

, 
mean 
0 
be 
closer 
to 
ordinary mathematical 

pract~ce. We 
will avoid keeping form and meaning (content) apart 
In 

stead 
we 
will 
at 
the same 
time 
display 
certain 
forms 
of jUdgemen~ and 

inference 
that are used 
in mathematical 
d explain ' , them 

, 
" 
proofs 
an 
seman 

tically. 
Thus 
we 
make explicit 
h w 
t a 
is 
usually 
implicitly 
taken 
f'or 
4 
 

granted. When o ne tre at s as 
arty 
ot he r 
b r anc h 
of math ematics, 
as 

· i n 
the metamathematical 
lo g i c traditi on 
originated 
by 
Hilbert , 
such 
ju dge  

ments 
and 
inf erences ·are o nl y p artially 
and 
f ormal l y re pr e se nted 
in 

the 
s o called 
o bj ec t language, 
while 
they are implicitly used; as 
in 

any 
other 
b r anch of mathematics, in 
the 
s o cal led 
metal anguage. 

Our 
main 
aim 
is to 
build 
up a 
system 
o f 
f orma l rules 
representing 

in 
the 
bes t 
p ossible way 
informal 
(mathe matical) 
rea soning. 
In the 

u sual natu ral deduction style , 
the 
rules 
given are 
not quite . f ormal . 

For 
i ns t ance , 
the 
rule . 

A 

A v 
B 

takes 
f or 
that 
A and 
B 
are 
f ormulas, 
and 
then d oes 
it 
say 

granted i nf e r that · we can 
A v 
B 
to 
be 
true when 
A is 
true 
o nl y If we 
are 
t o 
give a 

f ormai 
rule, 
we have 
to make 
this 
expllcit, 
writing 

A prop. 
B 
prop . 
A 
true 

o r 
A 
v 
B 
tr ue 

A, 
B 
prop . 
.1 
A 

lAyB 

where 
we use, 
like Frege, 
the 
symb ol 
l 
to 
the of A to 
signify 

that A is true . In our system 
of rules 
, . t h i s left wi l l always 
be 
explicit . 

A 
r ule 
o f inference is · j ustified 
by 
explaining the 
conclusion 
o n 

the assumpti on that the 
pre misses 
are 
kno wn . H.ence, before 
a rule 
of 

infere nce 
can 
be 
just 
ified, 
it 
must 
be 
explained wh a t it 
is 
that we 

must know 
"in 
o r de r to have 
the 
right to 
make a 
judgement o f 
any one 

of the 
various f orms 
that 
the 
premisses 
and 
cOnclusion can have. 
 
5 
 

. We us e 
f our · f orms 
of 

(1) 
A 
is 
a 
set 
(a bbr . 
A s~t ) , 

( 
2 ) 
A 
and 
B .~e 
equ al 
~ets (A 
~ B), 

( 
3) 
a 
is .an element 
o f 
the 
set 
A (a 
A) , 

(4) 
a 
and 
b 
are equal elements of the set 
A 
(a 
= 
b 
E A) . 

(If we 
read 
£ 
lit.rally a s 
~a~~ , then we ~ight 
~rite A E 

A = 
BESet , 
a 
e 
El 
(!) , 
a 
= 
b 
E 
El(A ) , 
re spectively .) 
Of 
Set , cou rse , 
any 

synta ctic ements and 
varia ble s l 
co u ld be letters f 
us ed ·, or ae't s 
the _{u}_{s}_{e} i s o nl y 
0 
e t t e r s conve n ience . sma t o» f 11 l 
f 
or el  Not e 
t hat 

o r di na r 
y 
c api t a set ·t 
he o r y , 
a 
E 
b 
and 
a 
= b 
are 
pr opos it i ons , whi l e they 

in a r e 
j udgem 
ents 
here. 
A 
jUdgement 
o f 
the 
f orm 
A 
= 
B 
h as 
n o mean ing 

less ·we already kn ow A 
and 
B 
t o 
b~ sets 
. 
Like wise , 
a 
jUdgeme 
nt 
o f 
t he 

f orm b 
a 
E A pre supp oses 
th at 
A is 
a 
set , 
and 
a 
judgement o f f orm 

a ·= b 
E A pr esupp o se .s, 
first, 
that 
A is 
a se 
t 
an d 
sec ond, t he t ha t 
a 
and 

are 
elem ent s o f A• . 
, 
, 

Each 
f orm 
o f 
judgem ent 
admits 
o f severa 1 differe nt 
read ings , 
as 

i n the 
ta.ble: 

A set 
a 
E 
A 

A is 
a 
set 
a 
is 
_{a}_{n} 
'e 
Lemen t 
_{o} _{f} 
_{t}_{h}_{e} 
_{s}_{e}_{t} _{.} _{A} 
A 
is 

A is 
a 
pr op ositi on 
a 
is 
a 
pr 
o of 
( con structi on) 
_{o}_{f} 
A is n onempt y true 

the 
pr op ositi 
on 
A 

A is 
an i ntenti on 
a 
is 
a meth od o f f~lfliling 
A 
is f u lfi l l a bl e 

(expectati on) 
(real izing) 
the 
intention 
. ( realizable) 

( exp ectati on ) 
A 

A is 
a 
problem 
a 
i s 
a method 
of solving 
the 
A i s solvable 

(task) 
p rob 
l em ( doing 
the 
task) 
A 
ric '
 
6  
\ 
 
7 

The 
se cond, 
logical interpretation 
is discu ssed toghether 
with 
rules 
Explanations of the 
forms 
o f 
judgement 

below . 
The 
third was suggested 
by 
Heytin g ^{4} a nd t he "a is 
fourth 
by Kol mo 

gOrov 5 . 
The 
last i s very close 
to 
programming. 
a method 
. 
. 
. 
" 
can 
' 
For 
each one 
of 
the . four 
forms 
of 
judgement, 
we. now explain 
wha t 

be 
read 
as 
"a 
is a program 
". 
Since programming 
languages have 
a 
a judgement of 
that 
form means . 
We 
can 
explain what a judgement , 
s a 
y 

formal 
notation 
for the program but not for A, 
we c omplete the 
sen 
of the first 
form, 
means 
by 
answering 
one of the follo wing three 
ques  

tence 
with 
" ... which meets the 
a, s pe c i f i ca ti on A". 
In .Kolmogorov 's 
in 
tions: 

· t e r 
pr e t a t i on , d 
the word problem 
refers to something to 
be 
done and 
the 

wor 
p rogram 
to how to do it . 
The 
analogy bet ween t he 
first and 
the 
Wha t 
is 
a 
set? 

second 
interpretation is . implicit 
in the BrouwerHeyting interpret 
What 
is 
it 
that 
we must 
know in 
order to have 
the right to 
judge 

ation 
of ,~he logical constant~. It was made more 
explicit 
bY ,Curry ,and 
something 
to 
be 
a 
set? 

Feys6 , but only for the impl icational fragment , and i t wa s exten ded t o 

, 
. 7 
What 
does 
a judgement of 
the 
form 
" A is 
a 
set·" mean? 

intuitionistic 
first order arithmetic by Howard _ It 
is the only 
known 

way of int.rpretin~ i~tuitionistic logic so that 
th~ axiom 
o f 
6h oic e 
The first ,is 
the ontolog ical 
(anc 
ient Greek) , 
t he 
second the epis 

becomes , valid . 
temol~gical (Descartes, 
Kant, 
•• 
. 
) 
and 
the third 
the seman t ica l 
(mod 

To 
distin gui sh between proofs. of judgements 
(usually 
in 
treelike 
ern) way 
of 
posing essentially 
the 
same 
question . 
At first sight , 
we 

form) 
and 
proofs 
(here identified with element s , 
thus 
could assume 
that 
a 
set 
is 
defined 
by 
prescribing ho w i t s elements 

to use 
the left of of propo sit ions the E . ) we reser ve it when confusion might occur. 
word con str uction 
for 
the latter and 
are formed. N is defined 
This we do by giving 
when the 
we say rules : 
that 
the 
set 
of na tura l numbers 

a 
N 

o E 
N 

a'E 
N 

4 
A. 
Hey ting, Die intuitionistische Grundlegung 
der 
Ma t hema t ik , 
by which 
its 
elements are constr ucted. 
However" 
the 
we akn e s s o f thi s 

Erkenntnis, Vol. 2, 1931 , pp. 
106 115 . . 
definition is 
clear: 
10 ^{1}^{0} , 
for 
instance, 
though not 

5 A. N. Kolmogorov , Zur · Deutung der M~thematische Zeitschrift , Vol. 35 . 1932, intuitionistis chen pp . Logik, 6 H. B. Curry and R. Feys, Combinatory Logic, Vol. 1, North 
thegi ven can bring ~uish the 
rules, is clearly an it to the form a' for elements which have a 
element some a form by 
of N, e ' N. which 
sinc,e we We thus we 
obta inable wi th ' kno w t h at we can h a ve . to di rect ly d isti n  see 

Holland ; 
Amsterdam , 1958 
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