intensional type theory


Type theory

natural deduction metalanguage, practical foundations

  1. type formation rule
  2. term introduction rule
  3. term elimination rule
  4. computation rule

type theory (dependent, intensional, observational type theory, homotopy type theory)

syntax object language

computational trinitarianism = propositions as types +programs as proofs +relation type theory/category theory

logiccategory theorytype theory
trueterminal object/(-2)-truncated objecth-level 0-type/unit type

falseinitial objectempty type

proposition(-1)-truncated objecth-proposition, mere proposition

proofgeneralized elementprogram

cut rulecomposition of classifying morphisms / pullback of display mapssubstitution

cut elimination for implicationcounit for hom-tensor adjunctionbeta reduction

introduction rule for implicationunit for hom-tensor adjunctioneta conversion

logical conjunctionproductproduct type

disjunctioncoproduct ((-1)-truncation of)sum type (bracket type of)

implicationinternal homfunction type

negationinternal hom into initial objectfunction type into empty type

universal quantificationdependent productdependent product type

existential quantificationdependent sum ((-1)-truncation of)dependent sum type (bracket type of)

equivalencepath space objectidentity type

equivalence classquotientquotient type

inductioncolimitinductive type, W-type, M-type

higher inductionhigher colimithigher inductive type

completely presented setdiscrete object/0-truncated objecth-level 2-type/preset/h-set

setinternal 0-groupoidBishop set/setoid

universeobject classifiertype of types

modalityclosure operator, (idemponent) monadmodal type theory, monad (in computer science)

linear logic(symmetric, closed) monoidal categorylinear type theory/quantum computation

proof netstring diagramquantum circuit

(absence of) contraction rule(absence of) diagonalno-cloning theorem

synthetic mathematicsdomain specific embedded programming language


homotopy levels




Intensional type theory is the flavor of type theory in which identity types are not necessarily propositions (that is, (-1)-truncated). Martin-Löf‘s original definition of identity types, and the equivalent formulation as an inductive type, are by default intensional; one has to impose extra axioms or rules in order to get extensional type theory (in which identity types are propositions).

In particular, homotopy type theory is intensional, because identity types represent path objects.

Note that some type theorists use “intensional type theory” to refer to type theory which fails to satisfy function extensionality. This is in general an orthogonal requirement to how we are using the term here.



Only the intensional but not the extensional Martin-Löf type theory is decidable. (Martin-Löf, Hofmann).


  • CiC?


  • Per Martin-Löf, An intuitionistic theory of types: predicative part, Logic Colloquium ‘73

    (Amsterdam) (H. E. Rose and J. C. Shepherdson, eds.), North-Holland, 1975, pp. 73-118.

  • Martin Hofmann, Extensional concepts in intensional type theory, Ph.D. thesis, University of

    Edinburgh, (1995) (web)

Last revised on November 30, 2012 at 01:06:32. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.