Turnstile (symbol)

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

In mathematical logic and computer science the symbol \vdash has taken the name turnstile because of its resemblance to a typical turnstile if viewed from above. It is also referred to as tee and is often read as "yields", "proves", "satisfies" or "entails". The symbol was first used by Gottlob Frege in his 1879 book on logic, Begriffsschrift.[1]

Martin-Löf analyzes the \vdash symbol thus: "...[T]he combination of Frege's Urteilsstrich, judgement stroke [ | ], and Inhaltsstrich, content stroke [—], came to be called the assertion sign."[2] Frege's notation for a judgement of some content  A

\vdash A

can be then be read

I know  A is true".[3]

In the same vein, a conditional assertion

P \vdash Q

can be read as:

From  P , I know that  Q

In TeX, the turnstile symbol \vdash is obtained from the command \vdash. In Unicode, the turnstile symbol () is called right tack and is at code point U+22A2.[4] On a typewriter, a turnstile can be composed from a vertical bar (|) and a dash (–). In LaTeX there is a turnstile package which issues this sign in many ways, and is capable of putting labels below or above it, in the correct places.[5]


The turnstile represents a binary relation. It has several different interpretations in different contexts:

P \vdash Q
means that Q is derivable from P in the system.
Consistent with its use for derivability, a "\vdash" followed by an expression without anything preceding it denotes a theorem, which is to say that the expression can be derived from the rules using an empty set of axioms. As such, the expression
\vdash Q
means that Q is a theorem in the system.
  • In proof theory, the turnstile is used to denote "provability". For example, if T is a formal theory and S is a particular sentence in the language of the theory then
T \vdash S
means that S is provable from T.[7] This usage is demonstrated in the article on propositional calculus.

See also