Negation - Rules of Inference

Rules of Inference

There are a number of equivalent ways to formulate rules for negation. One usual way to formulate classical negation in a natural deduction setting is to take as primitive rules of inference negation introduction (from a derivation of p to both q and ¬q, infer ¬p; this rule also being called reductio ad absurdum), negation elimination (from p and ¬p infer q; this rule also being called ex falso quodlibet), and double negation elimination (from ¬¬p infer p). One obtains the rules for intuitionistic negation the same way but by excluding double negation elimination.

Negation introduction states that if an absurdity can be drawn as conclusion from p then p must not be the case (i.e. p is false (classically) or refutable (intuitionistically) or etc.). Negation elimination states that anything follows from an absurdity. Sometimes negation elimination is formulated using a primitive absurdity sign ⊥. In this case the rule says that from p and ¬p follows an absurdity. Together with double negation elimination one may infer our originally formulated rule, namely that anything follows from an absurdity.

Typically the intuitionistic negation ¬p of p is defined as p→⊥. Then negation introduction and elimination are just special cases of implication introduction (conditional proof) and elimination (modus ponens). In this case one must also add as a primitive rule ex falso quodlibet.

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