In boolean propositional logic, a tautology is any proposition whose validity is unconditional — independent of the validity of its propositional variables. Several generalizations are possible. On the one hand, the family of boolean tautolgies is also the family of boolean theorems: a proposition is a boolean tautology iff it has a boolean proof. On the other hand, construing a boolean proposition as a universalized equation in the language of boolean algebras, the boolean propositions are also the (universal, first-order) propositions of the form that are valid in every boolean algebra.
Of course, tautologies exist in other logics besides boolean logic, although boolean logic is perhaps the simplest nontrivial case.
for every model .
Compare the notion of theorem, sometimes called a syntactic tautology, which asks that be provable in :
In the best behaved cases, each context has a free model? such that the theorems are precisely the tautologies for the free model. (For example, in the case of boolean propositional logic, the free model for the context with variables is the free boolean algebra on generators.) Even without this, there may be a class of models that can be proved to be sound? (every theorem is a tautology) and complete? (every tautology is a theorem).