Propositional logic theorem prover


try to prove statement

Param proposition

an expression with logical operations

Yacas has a small built-in propositional logic theorem prover. It can be invoked with a call to CanProve(). An example of a proposition is: “if a implies b and b implies c then a implies c”. Yacas supports the following logical operations:


negation, read as “not”


conjunction, read as “and”


disjunction, read as “or”


implication, read as “implies”

The abovementioned proposition would be represented by the following expression:

( (a=>b) And (b=>c) ) => (a=>c)

Yacas can prove that is correct by applying CanProve() to it:

In> CanProve(( (a=>b) And (b=>c) ) => (a=>c))
Out> True;

It does this in the following way: in order to prove a proposition \(p\), it suffices to prove that \(\neg p\) is false. It continues to simplify \(\neg p\) using the rules:

  • \(\neg\neg x \to x\) (eliminate double negation),

  • \(x\Rightarrow y \to \neg x \vee y\) (eliminate implication),

  • \(\neg (x \wedge y) \to \neg x \vee \neg y\) (De Morgan’s law),

  • \(\neg (x \vee y) \to \neg x \wedge \neg y\) (De Morgan’s law),

  • \((x \wedge y) \vee z \to (x \vee z) \wedge (y \vee z)\) (distribution),

  • \(x \vee (y \wedge z) \to (x \vee y) \wedge (x \vee z)\) (distribution),

and the obvious other rules, such as, \(1 \vee x \to 1\) etc. The above rules will translate a proposition into a form:

(p1 Or p2 Or ...) And (q1 Or q2 Or ...) And ...

If any of the clauses is false, the entire expression will be false. In the next step, clauses are scanned for situations of the form: \((p \vee Y) \wedge (\neg p \vee Z) \to (Y \vee Z)\). If this combination \((Y\vee Z)\) is empty, it is false, and thus the entire proposition is false. As a last step, the algorithm negates the result again. This has the added advantage of simplifying the expression further.


In> CanProve(a Or Not a)
Out> True;
In> CanProve(True Or a)
Out> True;
In> CanProve(False Or a)
Out> a;
In> CanProve(a And Not a)
Out> False;
In> CanProve(a Or b Or (a And b))
Out> a Or b;

See also

True(), False(), And(), Or(), Not()