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What is a predicate?

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Reworking some introductory chapters on QL languages, I thought I should make some  general introductory, pre-formal, remarks about names and predicates. But then, before talking about arities, about sense vs extension, etc., there’s a more basic question: what is a predicate? A simple question, but with a surprising range of answers to be found in the literature. Some candidates: A predicate is just an expression, as in ‘is wise’ in the ordinary language sentence ‘Socrates is wise’, or ‘loves’ in Romeo loves Juliet’ — an expression which can combine with names or other suitable expressions to form sentences. A predicate is an expression with gaps, as in ‘ is wise’ or ‘ loves ’. Or since gaps are hard to spot we may use gap-markers, which aren’t part of the gappy predicate expression but just signal where the gaps are, and represent the predicates as ‘… is wise’ or ‘… loves …’. A predicate is an expression with gaps and a rule as to whether the gaps have. . .

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News source: Logic Matters

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