In

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Infinitary Logic

Mathematical logic

mathematics
Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no general consensus abo ...

and logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning
Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...

, an operation is finitary if it has finite
Finite is the opposite of Infinity, infinite. It may refer to:
* Finite number (disambiguation)
* Finite set, a set whose cardinality (number of elements) is some natural number
* Finite verb, a verb form that has a subject, usually being inflected ...

arity
Arity () is the number of arguments
In logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logo ...

, i.e. if it has a finite number of input values. Similarly, an infinitary operation is one with an infinite number of input values.
In standard mathematics, an operation is finitary by definition. Therefore these terms are usually only used in the context of infinitary logicAn infinitary logic is a logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logos''), "word, though ...

.
Finitary argument

A finitary argument is one which can be translated into afinite set
In mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). It ...

of symbolic propositions starting from a finiteThe number of axioms ''referenced'' in the argument will necessarily be finite since the proof is finite, but the number of axioms from which these are ''chosen'' is infinite when the system has axiom schemeIn mathematical logic
Mathematical logic is the study of formal logic within mathematics. Major subareas include model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory. Research in mathematical logic commonly addresses the mathematical prop ...

s, e.g. the axiom schemes of propositional calculus
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic. It is also called propositional logic, statement logic, sentential calculus, sentential logic, or sometimes zeroth-order logic. It deals with propositions (which can be true or false) and relations b ...

. set of axiom
An axiom, postulate or assumption is a statement that is taken to be , to serve as a or starting point for further reasoning and arguments. The word comes from the Greek ''axíōma'' () 'that which is thought worthy or fit' or 'that which comm ...

s. In other words, it is a proof
Proof may refer to:
* Proof (truth), argument or sufficient evidence for the truth of a proposition
* Alcohol proof, a measure of an alcoholic drink's strength
Formal sciences
* Formal proof, a construct in proof theory
* Mathematical proof, a co ...

(including all assumptions) that can be written on a large enough sheet of paper.
By contrast, infinitary logicAn infinitary logic is a logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logos''), "word, though ...

studies logics that allow infinitely long statements
Statement or statements may refer to: Common uses
*Statement (computer science)In computer programming
Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to ...

and proofs. In such a logic, one can regard the existential quantifier
In predicate logic
First-order logic—also known as predicate logic, quantificational logic, and first-order predicate calculus—is a collection of formal systems used in mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. First-order l ...

, for instance, as derived from an infinitary disjunction
In logic, disjunction is a logical connective typically notated \lor whose meaning either refines or corresponds to that of natural language expressions such as "or". In classical logic, it is given a truth functional semantics of logic, sema ...

.
History

Logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning
Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic
Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...

ians in the early 20th century aimed to solve the problem of foundations, such as, "What is the true base of mathematics?" The program was to be able to rewrite all mathematics using an entirely syntactical language ''without semantics''. In the words of David Hilbert
David Hilbert (; ; 23 January 1862 – 14 February 1943) was a German mathematician
This is a List of German mathematician
A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics
Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Gr ...

(referring to geometry
Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mat ...

), "it does not matter if we call the things ''chairs'', ''tables'' and ''beer mugs'' or ''points'', ''lines'' and ''planes''."
The stress on finiteness came from the idea that human ''mathematical'' thought is based on a finite number of principles and all the reasonings follow essentially one rule: the ''modus ponens
In propositional logic
Propositional calculus is a branch of logic
Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning
Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic
Logic (from ...

''. The project was to fix a finite number of symbols (essentially the numerals
A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to:
* Numeral system used in mathematics
* Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English)
* Numerical di ...

1, 2, 3, ... the letters of alphabet and some special symbols like "+", "⇒", "(", ")", etc.), give a finite number of propositions expressed in those symbols, which were to be taken as "foundations" (the axioms), and some rules of inference
In the philosophy of logic, a rule of inference, inference rule or transformation rule is a logical form consisting of a function which takes premises, analyzes their Syntax (logic), syntax, and returns a conclusion (or multiple-conclusion logic, ...

which would model the way humans make conclusions. From these, ''regardless of the semantic interpretation of the symbols'' the remaining theorems should follow ''formally'' using only the stated rules (which make mathematics look like a ''game with symbols'' more than a ''science'') without the need to rely on ingenuity. The hope was to prove that from these axioms and rules ''all'' the theorems of mathematics could be deduced. That aim is known as logicism
In the philosophy of mathematics
The philosophy of mathematics is the branch
The branches and leaves of a tree.
A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany
Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is ...

.
Notes

{{reflistExternal links

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Infinitary Logic

Mathematical logic