first-order logic

<language, logic> The language describing the truth of mathematical formulas. Formulas describe properties of terms and have a truth value. The following are atomic formulas:

 True
 False
 p(t1,..tn)	where t1,..,tn are terms and p is a predicate.

If F1, F2 and F3 are formulas and v is a variable then the following are compound formulas:

 F1 ^ F2	conjunction - true if both F1 and F2 are true,

 F1 V F2	disjunction - true if either or both are true,

 F1 => F2	implication - true if F1 is false or F2 is
		true, F1 is the antecedent, F2 is the
		consequent (sometimes written with a thin
		arrow),

 F1 <= F2	true if F1 is true or F2 is false,

 F1 == F2	true if F1 and F2 are both true or both false
		(normally written with a three line
		equivalence symbol)

 ~F1		negation - true if f1 is false (normally
		written as a dash '-' with a shorter vertical
		line hanging from its right hand end).

 For all v . F	universal quantification - true if F is true
		for all values of v (normally written with an
		inverted A).

 Exists v . F	existential quantification - true if there
		exists some value of v for which F is true.
		(Normally written with a reversed E).

The operators ^ V => <= == ~ are called connectives. "For all" and "Exists" are quantifiers whose scope is F. A term is a mathematical expression involving numbers, operators, functions and variables.

The "order" of a logic specifies what entities "For all" and "Exists" may quantify over. First-order logic can only quantify over sets of atomic propositions. (E.g. For all p . p => p). Second-order logic can quantify over functions on propositions, and higher-order logic can quantify over any type of entity. The sets over which quantifiers operate are usually implicit but can be deduced from well-formedness constraints.

In first-order logic quantifiers always range over ALL the elements of the domain of discourse. By contrast, second-order logic allows one to quantify over subsets.

["The Realm of First-Order Logic", Jon Barwise, Handbook of Mathematical Logic (Barwise, ed., North Holland, NYC, 1977)].

Last updated: 2005-12-27

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