In predicate logic, existential generalization (also known as existential introduction, ∃I) is a valid rule of inference that allows one to move from a specific statement, or one instance, to a quantified generalized statement, or existential proposition. In first-order logic, it is often used as a rule for the existential quantifier () in formal proofs.
|Rules of inference|
|Rules of replacement|
Example: "Rover loves to wag his tail. Therefore, something loves to wag its tail."
In the Fitch-style calculus:
According to Willard Van Orman Quine, universal instantiation and existential generalization are two aspects of a single principle, for instead of saying that implies , we could as well say that the denial implies . 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.
- Copi, Irving M.; Cohen, Carl (2005). Introduction to Logic. Prentice Hall.
- Hurley, Patrick (1991). A Concise Introduction to Logic 4th edition. Wadsworth Publishing.
- pg. 347. Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy, Language proof and logic Second Ed., CSLI Publications, 2008.
- Willard Van Orman Quine; Roger F. Gibson (2008). "V.24. Reference and Modality". Quintessence. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Here: p.366.