Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis explores several related issues surrounding second order logic. The central problem running throughout is whether second order logic should provide the underlying logic for formalizations of natural language. A prior problem is determining the significance of this choice. Such controversies over the adoption of a logic usually involve assessing the merits of challengers to first order logic. In some of these rival systems various first order logical truths do not hold. The failure of the Law of the Excluded Middle in intuitionistic systems is the most common example. The other alternatives to first order logic accept it as a part of the truth, but extend it by adding new logical constants. Some modal systems of logic are formed by adding to first order logic a symbol intended to be read as 'it is logically necessary that.' The first order semantics is extended to provide truth conditions for sentences containing this new symbol. In such cases the debate is whether we are justified in expanding the list of logical constants provided by first order logic. We accept the first order logical constants and are deciding whether, e.g., 'it is logically necessary that' should be added to the list.


Submitted to the Faculty of The Rockefeller University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Included in

Life Sciences Commons