Fall 2016

Logical Structures in Computation Seminar

Nov 2, 2016 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm 

Add to Calendar


Calvin Lab Rm 116

Herbrand Manifesto

The traditional semantics for First-Order Logic (sometimes called Tarskian semantics) is based on the notion of interpretations of constants in terms of objects external to the Logic. Herbrand semantics is an alternative semantics that is based on truth assignments for ground sentences without reference to external objects. Herbrand semantics is simpler and more intuitive than Tarskian semantics; and, consequently, it is easier to teach and learn. Moreover, it is stronger than Tarskian semantics. For example, while it is not possible to finitely axiomatize integer arithmetic with Tarskian semantics, this can be done easily with Herbrand Semantics. The downside is a loss of some common logical properties, such as compactness and inferential completeness. However, there is no loss of inferential power - anything that can be deduced according to Tarskian semantics can also be deduced according to Herbrand semantics. Based on these fcats, we argue that there is value in using Herbrand semantics in place of Tarskian semantics in teaching introductory Logic.