Concerns that mathematics had not been built on a proper foundation led to the development of axiomatic systems for fundamental areas of mathematics such as arithmetic, analysis, and geometry.
In the early decades of the 20th century, the main areas of study were set theory and formal logic. The discovery of paradoxes in informal set theory caused some to wonder whether mathematics itself is inconsistent, and to look for proofs of consistency.
Higher-order logics allow for quantification not only of elements of the domain of discourse, but subsets of the domain of discourse, sets of such subsets, and other objects of higher type. The semantics are defined so that, rather than having a separate domain for each higher-type quantifier to range over, the quantifiers instead range over all objects of the appropriate type. The logics studied before the development of first-order logic, for example Frege's logic, had similar set-theoretic aspects. Although higher-order logics are more expressive, allowing complete axiomatizations of structures such as the natural numbers, they do not satisfy analogues of the completeness and compactness theorems from first-order logic, and are thus less amenable to proof-theoretic analysis.
One can formally define an extension of first-order logic — a notion which encompasses all logics in this section because they behave like first-order logic in certain fundamental ways, but does not encompass all logics in general, e.g. it does not encompass intuitionistic, modal or fuzzy logic.
The set of all models of a particular theory is called an elementary class; classical model theory seeks to determine the properties of models in a particular elementary class, or determine whether certain classes of structures form elementary classes.