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Reasoning about Update Logic

Jan van Eijck and Fer-Jan de Vries
Journal of Philosophical Logic
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Feb., 1995), pp. 19-45
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30226537
Page Count: 27
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Reasoning about Update Logic
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Abstract

Logical frameworks for analysing the dynamics ofinformation processing abound [4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 20, 22]. Some of these frameworks focus on the dynamics of the interpretation process, some on the dynamics of the process of drawing inferences, and some do both of these. Formalisms galore, so it is felt that some conceptual streamlining would pay off. This paper is part of a larger scale enterprise to pursue the obvious parallel between information processing and imperative programming. We demonstrate that logical tools from theoretical computer science are relevant for the logic of information flow. More specifically, we show that the perspective of bare logic [13, 18] can fruitfully be applied to the conceptual simplification of information flow logics. Part one of this program consisted of the analysis of 'dynamic interpretation' in this way, using the example of dynamic predicate logic [10]; the results were published in [7]. The present paper constitutes the second part of the program, the analysis of 'dynamic inference'. Here we focus on Veltman’s update logic [22]. Update logic is an example of a logical framework which takes the dynamics of drawing inferences into account by modelling information growth as discarding of possibilities. This paper shows how information logics like update logic can fruitfully be studied by linking their dynamic principles to static 'correctness descriptions'. Our theme is exemplified by providing a sound and complete HoarelPratt style deduction system for update logic. The Hoare/Pratt correctness statements use modal propositional dynamic logic as assertion language and connect update logic to the modal propositional logic S5. The connection with S5 provides a clear link between the dynamic and the static semantics of update logic. The fact that update logic is decidable was noted already in [2]; the connection with S5 provides an alternative proof. The S5 connection can also be used for rephrasing the validity notions of update logic and for performing consistency checks. In conclusion, it is argued that interpreting the dynamic statements of information logics as dynamic modal operators has much wider applicability. In fact, the method can be used to axiomatize quite a wide range of information logics.

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