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How does one generally show syntactical statements in PA about primitive recursive functions or relations?

For example something like:

Let $A$ be a prim. rec. relation such that $n\in A$ for every numeral $n$. Show $PA \vdash \forall x A(x)$ (where $A$ denotes the relation as well as the formula representing the relation in PA).

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Uh? Often by induction, sometimes in the flavor of a recursion: show that $\forall x\,A(x)=0$ by showing that $A(0) = 0$ and $A(x+1) = F(x,A(x))$ where $\foral x\,F(x,0) = 0$... –  François G. Dorais May 30 '12 at 22:24
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Please don't alter the question to become void. If you really want to delete, use the "delete" option –  Yemon Choi May 30 '12 at 23:36
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Yemon, unregistered users cannot delete their own questions and it is impossible to delete questions with upvoted answers. –  Asaf Karagila May 31 '12 at 6:03
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Sorry. I just found this website, then asked a question, then read the faq, then decided that my question is too basic and tried to delete it. The answers were helpful nevertheless. –  AGISGA May 31 '12 at 14:32
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closed as no longer relevant by Dan Petersen, Andy Putman, Qiaochu Yuan, Gjergji Zaimi, Asaf Karagila May 30 '12 at 23:02

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2 Answers

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Sometimes you can't prove what you asked for. For example, it is routine to give a primitive recursive definition of the predicate $A(x)$ formalizing in a natural way "$x$ is not the Gödel number of a proof in PA of a contradiction." Then, for each natural number $n$, this predicate holds of $n$ (because PA is consistent). But PA cannot prove $\forall x\,A(x)$, because, by Gödel's second incompleteness theorem, PA cannot prove its own consistency.

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Examine why $A$ is primitive recursive. The proof in PA should parallel the informal proof that it is primitive recursive.

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