What is an inference rule?

Journal of Symbolic Logic 57 (3):1018-1045 (1992)
Abstract
What is an inference rule? This question does not have a unique answer. One usually finds two distinct standard answers in the literature; validity inference $(\sigma \vdash_\mathrm{v} \varphi$ if for every substitution $\tau$, the validity of $\tau \lbrack\sigma\rbrack$ entails the validity of $\tau\lbrack\varphi\rbrack)$, and truth inference $(\sigma \vdash_\mathrm{t} \varphi$ if for every substitution $\tau$, the truth of $\tau\lbrack\sigma\rbrack$ entails the truth of $\tau\lbrack\varphi\rbrack)$. In this paper we introduce a general semantic framework that allows us to investigate the notion of inference more carefully. Validity inference and truth inference are in some sense the extremal points in our framework. We investigate the relationship between various types of inference in our general framework, and consider the complexity of deciding if an inference rule is sound, in the context of a number of logics of interest: classical propositional logic, a nonstandard propositional logic, various propositional modal logics, and first-order logic
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