I'm learning predicate logic and my textbook says that some logical truths expressible in the language of predicate logic are not tautologies.

For example, according to my textbook, $∀x(Px ⊃ Px)$ is valid even though it doesn't instantiate a tautological schema.

However, I don't understand why $∀x(Px ⊃ Px)$ can't be regarded as a tautology. Can someone help me?

Thanks a lot


A tautology is a formula of propositional calculus that is true for every assignment of truth values to the propositional letters (i.e. for every interpretation).

Example of tautologies : $A \to A, \lnot A \lor A$.

In first-order logic, a formula is valid iff it is true for every interpretation.

In first-order logic, a tautology is a formula that is obtained by a propositional tautology replacing uniformly propositional letters with formulae.

Example, $Px \to Px$ is a FOL tautology, as well as $\forall xPx \to \forall xPx$ and $\lnot \forall xPx \lor \forall xPx$, because they can obtained from the propositional tautologies $A \to A$ and $\lnot A \lor A$ replacing the propositional letter $A$ with the formulae $Px$ and $\forall xPx$ respectively.

Obviously every FOL tautology is valid, but not all FOL valid formulae are tautologies.


$\forall x (Px \to Px), \forall x (x=x)$.

  • $\begingroup$ I think I grasp the sense of your answer Mauro: when we write a formula like ∀x(Px→Px) we are not replacing PROPOSITIONAL LETTERS with formulae. $\endgroup$ – Fishermansfriend Jan 13 '17 at 21:39
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    $\begingroup$ A secondary point: is ∀xPx an atomic formula? Also, I suppose you mean "In first-order logic, a formula is valid IFF it is true for every interpretation". $\endgroup$ – Fishermansfriend Jan 13 '17 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Fishermansfriend - correct: the FOL formula ∀x(Px→Px) can be obtained by replacement from the propositional formula $A$, that of course is not a tautology. And no : in FOL atomic formulae are e.g. : $Px$ and $x=y$. $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jan 14 '17 at 11:15

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