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# Week 9 Lecture 2 Notes

Last lecture general predicate logic was introduced, along with multiple place predicates (also
called relations). According the syntax of general predicate logic, an n-place predicate can be
joined with n names and/or variables to form a wff.
This lecture begins to examine the semantics of general predicate logic, and in particular the
role played by the order of quantifiers within a formula. Unlike in the case of monadic predicate
logic, in general predicate logic the order of the quantifiers matters.
Lets start with the formula Lxy (where L is a two-place predicate). Lxy is a wff, but it is an
open formula, and therefore does not express a proposition. L could stand for anything, but
lets say it stands for liking. In other words, Lxy = x likes y.
There are eight different ways of closing the formula Lxy by adding two quantifiers to it (to
make a closed formula). Depending on what quantifiers are selected and what order they are in,
different propositions will result. Like in the case of the truth tables for connectives, it is
worthwhile putting all eight options and what they mean on a piece of paper and memorising it.
1) xyLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. What this proposition says is
that you can pick any two things from the domain and the first will like the second. This will
hold no matter what the things are, even if it is the same thing twice. In colloquial terms
everything likes everything.
2) yxLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. This formula is syntactically
distinct from (1) but it expresses the same proposition and therefore means the same thing.
This proposition also says everything likes everything.
As (1) and (2) express the same proposition they must be logically equivalent. (You can check
this using a tree). Conventionally, quantifiers are put in alphabetical order (if their order does
not matter) so (1) would conventionally be used rather than (2).
3) xyLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. What this proposition says is
that you can choose two things from the domain and the first likes the second. In colloquial
terms something likes something.
4) yxLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. This formula is syntactically
distinct from (3) but it expresses the same proposition and therefore means the same thing.
This proposition also says something likes something.
As (3) and (4) express the same proposition they must be logically equivalent. (You can check
this using a tree).

5) xyLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. What this proposition says is
that no matter what you thing pick from the domain there is some other thing that that thing
likes. Note that the other thing might be itself (if it likes itself). If we use arrows to represent
L, then this proposition says that everything sends out at least one arrow (see Figure 12.1 on p.
272).
6) yxLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. Even though this has the same
quantifiers as (5) it is not the same proposition (thus quantifier order matters). What this
proposition says is that there is something that everything (including itself) likes. Using arrows,
this proposition says that there is something that receives an arrow from everything else (see
Figure 12.2 on p. 272).
(5) and (6) are not logically equivalent. (6) implies (5) but (5) does not imply (6). To see why
(6) implies (5), consider that if something is liked by everything then everything likes
something (it just happens to be the same thing in every case).
7) yxLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. Note that this is not the same as
(5) as the quantifiers are quantifying over different variables. What this proposition says is that
for everything in the domain you can pick a thing such that that thing likes the first thing. Using
arrows, this proposition says that everything receives at least one arrow (see Figure 12.3 on p.
273).
8) xyLxy
This is a closed formula and therefore expresses a proposition. Even though this has the same
quantifiers as (7) it is not the same proposition (thus quantifier order matters). What this
proposition says is that you can pick a thing in the domain such that everything in the domain
likes that thing. In colloquial terms something likes everything. Using arrows, this proposition
says that there is something that sends out an arrow to everything else (see Figure 12.4 on p.
273).
(7) and (8) are not logically equivalent. (8) implies (7) but (7) does not imply (8). To see why
(8) implies (7), consider that if something liked everything then everything is liked by
something (it just happens to be the same thing in every case).
Supposing you are translating a sentence which has two quantifiers which bind variables which
both appear in the same relation, it is important that you pick the correct order for the
quantifiers. In everyday speech generally only one quantified variable will appear in a relation,
but this is not always the case, and it is often not the case for technical discussions.
In the next lecture, after the holidays, the semantics of general predicate logic will be discussed
further. In particular, it will be shown that sets are insufficient to capture the meaning of nonsymmetrical relations where the order of the names/variables matters.