Let $V = \{\ulcorner\phi\urcorner \mid A \vdash \phi\}$, where $A$ is $\{(\forall{x})(\forall{y})x=y\}$. I'm having trouble understanding why my book* states (in the solution to problem $1$, Section $7.7.1$) that $V$ is computable, even though $U = \{\ulcorner\phi\urcorner \mid \emptyset \vdash \phi\} = \{\ulcorner\phi\urcorner \mid \emptyset \vDash \phi\}$ is not computable (by the undecidability of the Entsheidungsproblem).

A note about notation: $\ulcorner\phi\urcorner$ is the Gödel number of the formula $\phi$.

*"A Friendly Introduction to Mathematical Logic" (Leary; Kristiansen; $2$nd edition)

  • $\begingroup$ What does the notation $\ulcorner\phi\urcorner$ mean? $\endgroup$
    – tolUene
    Aug 18 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ @tolUene That's one of the common notations for the Godel number of the formula $\phi$. $\endgroup$ Aug 18 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ To the OP, it's helpful (justified by the completeness/soundness theorem) to think semantically at first: can you come up with an intuitive way to tell whether a sentence is provable from $A$? The key is that "provable from $A$" is the same as "true as long as there is only one element in the universe." $U$ is indeed much more complicated than $V$, since $\emptyset$ puts no restrictions on the relevant models but $A$ does. $\endgroup$ Aug 18 at 15:31

1 Answer 1


The reason is that it is much "easier" to check whether a sentence follows from $A$ than whether it is true or not, since $A$ essentially tells you all objects that you are quantifying over are the same. That is, checking if $\exists x . \phi$ is true (where $x$ is the only variable in $\phi$) amounts to checking whether $\phi$ is true for some arbitrary choice of $x$. The same obviously holds for $\forall x. \phi$. Since we can write any formula $\phi$ in the form $\forall x_1 \exists x_2 \forall x_3 \ldots \exists x_n . \phi'$ (where the only variables in $\phi$ are $x_1, \ldots, x_n$), to check whether $\phi$ is true, it suffices to check whether $\phi'$ is true for some arbitrarily chosen value of $x_1 = x_2 = \ldots = x_n$.


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