# The Predicate Calculus

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Predicate Calculus deals with predicates, which are propositions containing variables.

## Predicate

A predicate is an expression of one or more variables defined on some specific domain. A predicate with variables can be made a proposition by either assigning a value to the variable or by quantifying the variable.

Consider the following statement.

• Ram is a student.

Now consider the above statement in terms of Predicate calculus.

• Here "is a student" is a predicate and Ram is subject.

• Let's denote "Ram" as x and "is a student" as a predicate P then we can write the above statement as P(x).

• Generally a statement expressed by Predicate must have at least one object associated with Predicate. In our case, Ram is the required object with associated with predicate P.

## Statement Function

Earlier we denoted "Ram" as x and "is a student" as predicate P then we have statement as P(x). Here P(x) is a statement function where if we replace x with a Subject say Sunil then we'll be having a statement "Sunil is a student."

Thus a statement function is an expression having Predicate Symbol and one or multiple variables. This statement function gives a statement when we replaced the variables with objects. This replacement is called substitution instance of statement function.

## Quantifiers

The variable of predicates is quantified by quantifiers. There are two types of quantifier in predicate logic − Universal Quantifier and Existential Quantifier.

## Universal Quantifier

Universal quantifier states that the statements within its scope are true for every value of the specific variable. It is denoted by the symbol ∀.

∀ x P(x) is read as for every value of x, P(x) is true.

Example − "Man is mortal" can be transformed into the propositional form ∀ x P(x) where P(x) is the predicate which denotes x is mortal and ∀ x represents all men.

## Existential Quantifier

Existential quantifier states that the statements within its scope are true for some values of the specific variable. It is denoted by the symbol ∃.

∃ x P(x) is read as for some values of x, P(x) is true.

Example − "Some people are dishonest" can be transformed into the propositional form ∃ x P(x) where P(x) is the predicate which denotes x is dishonest and ∃ x represents some dishonest men.

## Predicate Formulas

Consider a Predicate P with n variables as P(x1, x2, x3, ..., xn). Here P is n-place predicate and x1, x2, x3, ..., xn are n individuals variables. This n-place predicate is known as atomic formula of predicate calculus. For Example: P(), Q(x, y), R(x,y,z)

## Well Formed Formula

Well Formed Formula (wff) is a predicate holding any of the following −

• All propositional constants and propositional variables are wffs

• If x is a variable and Y is a wff, ∀ x Y and ∀ x Y are also wff

• Truth value and false values are wffs

• Each atomic formula is a wff

• All connectives connecting wffs are wffs

## Free and Bound variables

Consider a Predicate formula having a part in form of (∃ x) P(x) of (x)P(x), then such part is called x-bound part of the formula. Any occurrence of x in x-bound part is termed as bound occurrence and any occurrence of x which is not x-bound is termed as free occurrence. See the examples below -

• (∃ x) (P(x) ∧ Q(x))

• (∃ x) P(x) ∧ Q(x)

In first example, scope of (∃ x) is (P(x) ∧ Q(x)) and all occurrences of x are bound occurrences. Whereas in second example, scope of (∃ x) is P(x) and last occurrence of x in Q(x) is a free occurrence.

## Universe of Discourse

We can limit the class of individuals/objects used in a statment. Here limiting means confining the input variable to a set of particular individuals/objects. Such a restricted class is termed as Universe of Discourse/domain of individual or universe. See the example below:

Some cats are black.

• C(x) : x is a cat.

• B(x) : x is black.

• (∃ x)(C(x) ∧ B(x))

If Universe of discourse is E = { Katy, Mille } where katy and Mille are white cats then our third statement is false when we replace x with either Katy or Mille where as if Universe of discourse is E = { Jene, Jackie } where Jene and Jackie black cats then our third statement stands true for Universe of Discourse F.

Updated on 26-Aug-2019 06:13:57

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