Universal instantiation

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Universal instantiation
TypeRule of inference
FieldPredicate logic
Symbolic statement

In predicate logic, universal instantiation[1][2][3] (UI; also called universal specification or universal elimination,[citation needed] and sometimes confused with dictum de omni)[citation needed] is a valid rule of inference from a truth about each member of a class of individuals to the truth about a particular individual of that class. It is generally given as a quantification rule for the universal quantifier but it can also be encoded in an axiom schema. It is one of the basic principles used in quantification theory.

Example: "All dogs are mammals. Fido is a dog. Therefore Fido is a mammal."

Formally, the rule as an axiom schema is given as

for every formula A and every term t, where is the result of substituting t for each free occurrence of x in A. is an instance of

And as a rule of inference it is

from infer

Irving Copi noted that universal instantiation "...follows from variants of rules for 'natural deduction', which were devised independently by Gerhard Gentzen and Stanisław Jaśkowski in 1934."[4]


According to Willard Van Orman Quine, universal instantiation and existential generalization are two aspects of a single principle, for instead of saying that "∀x x = x" implies "Socrates = Socrates", we could as well say that the denial "Socrates ≠ Socrates" implies "∃x x ≠ x". The principle embodied in these two operations is the link between quantifications and the singular statements that are related to them as instances. Yet it is a principle only by courtesy. It holds only in the case where a term names and, furthermore, occurs referentially.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Irving M. Copi; Carl Cohen; Kenneth McMahon (Nov 2010). Introduction to Logic. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0205820375.[page needed]
  2. ^ Hurley, Patrick. A Concise Introduction to Logic. Wadsworth Pub Co, 2008.
  3. ^ Moore and Parker[full citation needed]
  4. ^ Copi, Irving M. (1979). Symbolic Logic, 5th edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
  5. ^ Willard Van Orman Quine; Roger F. Gibson (2008). "V.24. Reference and Modality". Quintessence. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. OCLC 728954096. Here: p. 366.