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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Partiality and Adjointness in Modal Logic

  • Author(s): Holliday, Wesley Halcrow
  • et al.

Following a proposal of Humberstone, this paper studies a semantics for modal logic based on partial “possibilities” rather than total “worlds.” There are a number of reasons, philosophical and mathematical, to find this alternative semantics attractive. Here we focus on the construction of possibility models with a finitary flavor. Our main completeness result shows that for a number of standard modal logics, we can build a canonical possibility model, wherein every logically consistent formula is satisfied, by simply taking each individual finite formula (modulo equivalence) to be a possibility, rather than each infinite maximally consistent set of formulas as in the usual canonical world models. Constructing these locally finite canonical models involves solving a problem in general modal logic of independent interest, related to the study of adjoint pairs of modal operators: for a given modal logic L, can we find for every formula φ a formula f(φ) such that for every formula ψ, φ → []ψ is provable in L if and only if f(φ) → ψ is provable in L? We answer this question for a number of standard modal logics, using model-theoretic arguments with world semantics. This second main result allows us to build for each logic a canonical possibility model out of the lattice of formulas related by provable implication in the logic.

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