Universal Instantiation
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Universal Instantiation

In predicate logic, universal instantiation[1][2][3] (UI; also called universal specification or universal elimination, and sometimes confused with dictum de omni) is a valid rule of inference from a truth about each member of a class of individuals to the truth about a particular individual of that class. It is generally given as a quantification rule for the universal quantifier but it can also be encoded in an axiom schema. It is one of the basic principles used in quantification theory.

Example: "All dogs are mammals. Fido is a dog. Therefore Fido is a mammal."

In symbols, the rule as an axiom schema is

for every formula A and every term a, where is the result of substituting a for each free occurrence of x in A. is an instance of

And as a rule of inference it is

from ? ?x A infer ? A(a/x),

with A(a/x) the same as above.

Irving Copi noted that universal instantiation "...follows from variants of rules for 'natural deduction', which were devised independently by Gerhard Gentzen and Stanis?aw Ja?kowski in 1934." [4]


According to Willard Van Orman Quine, universal instantiation and existential generalization are two aspects of a single principle, for instead of saying that "?x x = x" implies "Socrates = Socrates", we could as well say that the denial "Socrates ? Socrates" implies "?x x ? x". The principle embodied in these two operations is the link between quantifications and the singular statements that are related to them as instances. Yet it is a principle only by courtesy. It holds only in the case where a term names and, furthermore, occurs referentially.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Irving M. Copi; Carl Cohen; Kenneth McMahon (Nov 2010). Introduction to Logic. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0205820375.[page needed]
  2. ^ Hurley[full ]
  3. ^ Moore and Parker[full ]
  4. ^ Copi, Irving M. (1979). Symbolic Logic, 5th edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
  5. ^ Willard Van Orman Quine; Roger F. Gibson (2008). "V.24. Reference and Modality". Quintessence. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Here: p. 366.

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