Truth suffers from too much analysis

Proof of Modus Ponens

Posted by allzermalmer on August 29, 2013

There is a rule of Inference known as Modus Ponens. It is also sometimes known as rule of Detachment.

When it comes to rules of inference, some rules are taking as primitive and some are taken as derived. A primitive rule is one in which no proof is given for the rule, and a derived rule is one that is derived from the primitive rule.

The proof of Modus Ponens, which is to be given here, takes Modus Ponens as a derived rule and will use Disjunctive Syllogism as a primitive rule. So from Two premises and the primitive rule of Disjunctive Syllogism, Modus Ponens as a rule of inference can be derived.

Before we go through the proof, Modus Ponens form of argumentation shall be shown.

(1.) P–>Q [Premise]
(2.) P         [Premise]
(3.) Q         [Conclusion]

Here is an example of Disjunctive Syllogism.

(1.) ~PvQ [Premise]
(2.) P        [Premise]
(3.) Q       [Conclusion]

So Disjunctive Syllogism shall be used as the primitive rule, and from this primitive rule will be able to derive the inference rule of Modus Ponens.

Now there is one point that needs to be gone over first, which is that of Modus Ponens works with conditional statements, or if…then statements. Disjunctive Syllogism works with disjunctive statements, or ‘or’ statements. Conditional statements have equivalent forms of disjunctive statements. This is how conditional statements are known as material implications statements.

So, P–>Q is a material implication, and thus can be switched into it’s disjunctive form. So P–>Q, as a material implication, states that ~PvQ. This equivalence shall be used in the proof of modus ponens.

(1.) P–>Q [Premise]
(2.) P         [Premise]
(3.) ~PvQ [Definition of (1)]
(4.) Q       [(2)-(3) by Disjunctive Syllogism] [Conclusion]

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