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Roughly speaking, I'm wondering if it's possible to meaningfully grade different systems on how explosion-tolerant they are.

In classical sentential logic and intuitionistic sentential logic, a single contradiction P ∧ ¬P lets you conclude any well-formed formula.

Let T be the set of theorems and L be the set of the well-formed formulas. Let φ be a particular contradictory well-formed formula that is not a theorem in T.

If we take the closure of T ∪ {φ} under the inference rules in an explosive system, we get back L .

If we take a system with no inference rules at all, then the closure of T ∪ {φ} is just T ∪ {φ} . We would get no spurious theorems besides the contradiction. So the system with no inference rules is "minimally explosive".

In general, can we distinguish different non-explosive logics from each other by characterizing what the consequences are of accepting a contradictory premise / temporarily adopting a contradictory axiom? Is this a useful way of thinking about different paraconsistent logics?


As far as I can tell, an explosion-tolerant logic is one that does not admit the following the following inference rule.

P ∧ ¬P
------
Q

So then, by the contrapositive of the deduction theorem, it suffices to show that (P ∧ ¬P) → Q is not a tautology.

There's a simple three-valued logic given here defines the connectives in terms of truth tables:

neg           P → Q     Q         P ∨ Q      Q       P ∧ Q    Q
P ¬P                  1 ? 0                1 ? 0            1 ? 0
----                 +-----               +-----           +-----
1  1               1 |1 ? 0             1 |1 1 1         1 |1 ? 0
?  ?             P ? |1 ? 0           P ? |1 ? ?       P ? |? ? 0
0  0               0 |1 1 1             0 |1 ? 0         0 |0 0 0

For the purposes of identifying tautologies, the two designated truth values are T/1 and ?

In order to show that (P ∧ ¬P) → Q is not a tautology, we consult the truth table and work backwards, as shown below.

1. (P ∧ ¬P) → Q  falsifiable
2. Q false   and   P ∧ ¬P non-false
3. if P is "?", then P ∧ ¬P is non-false
4. {P="?", Q=⊥} witnesses the falsifiability of (P ∧ ¬P) → Q

This example does a good job of showing us why the asymmetry in the definition of is there. A premise whose truth value is ? is treated just like a true premise.

It certainly seems like the set of theorems doesn't grow much in this system if a contradictory premise is assumed. I think that with the assumption of P ∧ ¬P, you only get P and ¬P through conjunction elimination, but I'm not sure how to prove that.

Also, there might be other paraconsistent logics that are less tolerant of contradictory premises than this one.

  • Is this is a candidate for being moved to math.stackexchange? – Duckisaduckisaduck Nov 7 '18 at 23:17
  • Yes, if the community thinks that’s more appropriate. I’m not sure what the guidelines are for where to put a logic question. – Gregory Nisbet Nov 7 '18 at 23:26
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    I added the expression "-tolerant" above the first grayed-out box... this is correct, isn't it? Not admitting explosion means it's tolerant, right? – elliot svensson Nov 8 '18 at 0:09
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    Carnielli and Marcos discuss intermediate between non-explosive and explosive logics (finitely trivializable) in Paraconsistency, p.22. – Conifold Nov 8 '18 at 1:24
  • @ElliotSvensson yes that’s correct. – Gregory Nisbet Nov 8 '18 at 1:51
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An example is da Costa's hierarchy of propositional paraconsistent calculi

Check: https://projecteuclid.org/download/pdf_1/euclid.ndjfl/1093635241

and ftp://www.cle.unicamp.br/pub/e-prints/vol.4,n.3,2004.pdf

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