The first order functional calculus was proved complete by Gödel in 1930. Roughly speaking, this proof demonstrates that each formula of the calculus is a formal theorem which becomes a true sentence under every one of a certain intended class of interpretations of the formal system.
For the functional calculus of second order, in which predicate variables may be bound, a very different kind of result is known: no matter what (recursive) set of axioms are chosen, the system will contain a formula which is valid but not a formal theorem. This follows from results of Gödel concerning systems containing a theory of natural numbers, because a finite categorical set of axioms for the positive integers can be formulated within a second order calculus to which a functional constant has been added.
By a valid formula of the second order calculus is meant one which expresses a true proposition whenever the individual variables are interpreted as ranging over an (arbitrary) domain of elements while the functional variables of degree n range over all sets of ordered n-tuples of individuals. Under this definition of validity, we must conclude from Gödel's results that the calculus is essentially incomplete.
It happens, however, that there is a wider class of models which furnish an interpretation for the symbolism of the calculus consistent with the usual axioms and formal rules of inference. Roughly, these models consist of an arbitrary domain of individuals, as before, but now an arbitrary class of sets of ordered n-tuples of individuals as the range for functional variables of degree n. If we redefine the notion of valid formula to mean one which expresses a true proposition with respect to every one of these models, we can then prove that the usual axiom system for the second order calculus is complete: a formula is valid if and only if it is a formal theorem.
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