In the shadows of the löwenheim-Skolem theorem: Early combinatorial analyses of mathematical proofs

Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 13 (2):189-225 (2007)
The Löwenheim-Skolem theorem was published in Skolem's long paper of 1920, with the first section dedicated to the theorem. The second section of the paper contains a proof-theoretical analysis of derivations in lattice theory. The main result, otherwise believed to have been established in the late 1980s, was a polynomial-time decision algorithm for these derivations. Skolem did not develop any notation for the representation of derivations, which makes the proofs of his results hard to follow. Such a formal notation is given here by which these proofs become transparent. A third section of Skolem's paper gives an analysis for derivations in plane projective geometry. To clear a gap in Skolem's result, a new conservativity property is shown for projective geometry, to the effect that a proper use of the axiom that gives the uniqueness of connecting lines and intersection points requires a conclusion with proper cases (logically, a disjunction in a positive part) to be proved. The forgotten parts of Skolem's first paper on the Löwenheim-Skolem theorem are the perhaps earliest combinatorial analyses of formal mathematical proofs, and at least the earliest analyses with profound results
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DOI 10.2178/bsl/1185803805
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