Formal System(redirected from Formal theory)
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an uninterpreted calculus such that (1) the class of its expressions, or formulas, is usually defined inductively through the specification of primitive (elementary, atomic) formulas and rules for the formation (construction) of formulas and (2) the subclass of provable formulas (theorems) is defined through the specification of a system of axioms and of rules for the derivation of theorems from axioms and already proved theorems (seeRULE OF INFERENCE).
The term “formal system” has many synonyms, which, however, are sometimes used to refer to concepts related to, but not identical with, formal systems. Examples of these synonyms are “formal theory,” “formal mathematics,” “formalism,” “formal calculus,” “abstract calculus,” “syntactic system,” “axiomatic system,” “logistic system,” “formal language,” “formal logic,” “codification,” and “deductive system.”