Non-well-founded Proof Theory of Transitive Closure Logic

Liron Cohen, Reuben Rowe

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Supporting inductive reasoning is an essential component is any framework of use in computer science. To do so, the logical framework must extend that of first-order logic. Transitive closure logic is a known extension of first-order logic which is particularly straightforward to automate. While other extensions of first-order logic with inductive definitions are a priori parametrized by a set of inductive definitions, the addition of a single transitive closure operator has the advantage of uniformly capturing all finitary inductive definitions. To further improve the reasoning techniques for transitive closure logic we here present an infinitary proof system for it which is an infinite descent-style counterpart to the existing (explicit induction) proof system for the logic. We show that the infinitary system is complete for the standard semantics and subsumes the explicit system. Moreover, the uniformity of the transitive closure operator allows semantically meaningful complete restrictions to be defined using simple syntactic criteria. Consequently, the restriction to regular infinitary (i.e. cyclic) proofs provides the basis for an effective system for automating inductive reasoning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
JournalACM Transactions on Computational Logic
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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