A Framework for Defining Logics

Robert Harper, Furio Honsell and Gordon Plotkin

Abstract: The Edinburgh Logical Framework (LF) provides a means to define (or present) logics. It is based on a general treatment of syntax, rules, and proofs by means of a typed lambda-calculus with dependent types. Syntax is treated in a style similar to, but more general than, Martin-Lof's system of arities. The treatment of rules and proofs focuses on his notion of a judgement. Logics are represented in LF via a new principle, the judgements as types principle, whereby each judgement is identified with the type of its proofs. This allows for a smooth treatment of discharge and variable occurrence conditions and leads to a uniform treatment of rules and proofs whereby rules are viewed as proofs of higher-order judgements and proof checking is reduced to type checking. The practical benefit of our treatment of formal systems is that logic-independent tools such as proof editors and proof checkers can be constructed.

LFCS report ECS-LFCS-91-162, June 1991.

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