The middle ground-ancestral logic

Liron Cohen*, Arnon Avron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many efforts have been made in recent years to construct formal systems for mechanizing general mathematical reasoning. Most of these systems are based on logics which are stronger than first-order logic (FOL). However, there are good reasons to avoid using full second-order logic (SOL) for this task. In this work we investigate a logic which is intermediate between FOL and SOL, and seems to be a particularly attractive alternative to both: ancestral logic. This is the logic which is obtained from FOL by augmenting it with the transitive closure operator. While the study of this logic has so far been mostly model-theoretical, this work is devoted to its proof theory (which is much more relevant for the task of mechanizing mathematics). Two natural Gentzen-style proof systems for ancestral logic are presented: one for the reflexive transitive closure, and one for the non-reflexive one. We show that these systems are sound for ancestral logic and provide evidence that they indeed encompass all forms of reasoning for this logic that are used in practice. The two systems are shown to be equivalent by providing translation algorithms between them. We end with an investigation of two main proof-theoretical properties: cut elimination and constructive consistency proof.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2671-2693
Number of pages23
Issue number7
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2019


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space


    • Ancestral logic
    • Cut elimination
    • Gentzen-style system
    • Proof theory


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