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**Lecture 12: Predicate Calculus
**

10:30 AM, Mar 5, 2009

Contents

1 Overview 1

2 Syntax 1

3 Semantics 2

4 Example 3

5 Logical Entailment 4

5.1 Herbrand’s Theorem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

5.2 Herbrand’s Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

1 Overview

**In propositional logic, there is no concise method of encoding similar statements, such as: Amy
**

loves her mother; Carolyn loves her mother; Michele loves her mother. These statements must be

encoded as distinct propositions. Moreover, in propositional logic there is not even an awkward way

of encoding statements of the form: everyone loves his/her mother; someone loves his/her mother.

This lecture, which is concerned with predicate calculus1 —first-order logic without quantifiers

or variables—addresses the first of these concerns. The next lecture on first-order logic (with

quantifiers and variables) addresses the second.

The ontological basis of propositional logic is the proposition. The ontological bases of predicate

calculus are objects and their attributes. Some examples of objects are people, animals, plants,

and baseball games. There are two types of attributes of particular relevance to predicate calculus:

(i) functions, such as amy, which is a constant (i.e., a 0-place function), and mother of(amy),

which is a 1-place function; and (ii) relations, such as female(amy), which is a property (i.e.,

1-place relation), and loves(mother of(amy),amy), which is a 2-place relation. Note that

propositions are 0-place relations.

2 Syntax

**Predicate calculus generalizes propositional logic with terms, which represent objects, and pred-
**

icates, which represent propositions, properties, and relations. The predicate calculus alphabet

includes a set of constant symbols {a, b, c, . . .} (i.e., 0-ary function symbols), a set of n-ary function

1

In CS 141, we refer to first-order logic with only ground terms (no variables or quantifiers) as predicate calculus.

This is not necessarily standard nomenclature. First-order logic and predicate calculus are usually synonymous.

< (0. then the following are (complex) formulas: – ¬φ is a formula – φ ∨ ψ is a formula – φ ∧ ψ is a formula – φ → ψ is a formula As in the case of propositional logic. ∧. < (1. . a set of n-ary predicate symbols {P. ∨. Given this alphabet. An interpretation I is a tuple hD. function symbol succ has arity 1. where 0 and 1 are constant symbols. add(0. Example: Given the alphabet A = {0. 0). the following are sample terms of predicate calculus: 0. tn are terms and P is an n-ary predicate symbol – P (t1 . tn ) is a (n atomic) formula • ⊤ and ⊥ are (atomic) formulas • if φ and ψ are formulas.} for n > 0. Q. and a set of logical connectives {¬. g. Mar 5. aM is an object in the set D 2 . 0).t. . add(1. . h. M i where the domain D is a (non-empty) set of objects and the map M is defined s. succ(0). add. 2009 symbols {f. < (1. 0). . succ(0)). . function symbol add has arity 2. 0). b. succ(succ(0)). 1). 1). atomic formulas do not. and predicate symbol < has arity 2. add(0. succ. <}. . . . the syntactic rules of the predicate calculus govern the construction of terms and formulas. . . . . c. . R. →}. < (0. . . . . .CS 141 Lecture 12: Predicate Calculus 10:30 AM. . . add(1. 3 Semantics The semantics of predicate calculus give meaning to its formulas. • for all constant symbols a. . . ⊥}. . are terms • if t1 . tn are terms and f is an n-ary function symbol – f (t1 .} for n ≥ 0. two select 0-ary predicates {⊤. . tn ) is a term The following inductive definition describes the formulas of predicate calculus: • if t1 . and the following are sample formulas: < (0. . 1. . < (succ(0). 1). . . complex formulas involve one or more of the connectives. . This meaning is derived from an interpretation of terms and predicates. . . The following inductive definition describes the terms of predicate calculus: • constant symbols a. the syntactic units used in the construction of formulas. . Terms are interpreted as objects and predicates as relations. 0). . . 1).

. tn ) iff (I[t1 ]. tish. (1. . {(0.. The terms of predicate calculus are interpreted under I as follows: • for all constant symbols a. f M : Dn → D (i. . I[tn ]) ∈ P M The notions of satisfiability. P M is an n-ary relation on D) Example: Continuing our example. .. M i with domain D = N. Only in the base case does the definition for predicate calculus differ from that of propositional logic: I |= P (t1 .F} (i. . which is also 1. (2. . I[a] = aM • for all terms t1 . given alphabet A defined above. . . . . Mar 5. predicate symbols {older(·. in the standard interpretation I = hD. the constant symbols 0 and 1 would map to themselves. . (1. ·)}. . 2009 • for all n-ary function symbols f . . . I[tn ]) As in propositional logic. . P M : D n → {T. given alphabet A defined above. which is 1.}). . the term succ(0) is interpreted as succM (0M ). succM (0M )). Similarly. 4). the function symbol add would map to the addition function. function symbols {instructor of(·)}. f M is an n-ary function on D) • for all n-ary predicate symbols P . . . . succ(0)) is interpreted as addM (0M . the term add(0. tn )] = f M (I[t1 ]. 3). 4 Example Given constant symbols {amy. 1). michael}. . . in the standard interpretation with domain N. . M i as follows: • D = {Amy. validity. the function symbol succ would map to the function n 7→ n + 1. Example: Continuing our example yet again. and unsatisfiability extend immediately to predicate calculus.e.e. Merrie. I |= φ is defined inductively. and the predicate symbol < would map to the less-than relation (i. merrie. . 2). 2). merrie) satis- fiable? What about the formula older(instructor of(michael).e. . Tish. 3). . . tn and n-ary function symbols f – I[f (t1 . . . Is the formula older(instructor of(merrie). . Michael} • constant symbols – amyM = Amy – tishM = Tish – merrieM = Merrie – michaelM = Michael • function symbols 3 . michael)? Construct an interpretation I = hD. (0..CS 141 Lecture 12: Predicate Calculus 10:30 AM. . (2. .

even though it is not sat- isfied by I. H = hD. I |= older(instructor of(merrie).}. KB |= φ? In other words.(Merrie. I[merrie]) ∈ olderM iff (instructor ofM (merrieM ). then A = {a. For example. M i. . D = A) and M maps terms into themselves (i. michael) iff (I[instructor of(michael)]. is one in which the domain is the Herbrand universe (i. Merrie)} I satisfies the formula older(instructor of(merrie). . (Michael. Michael) ∈ olderM But older(instructor of(michael).(Michael. or Herbrand model. P (f (a)). and the Herbrand base B is the set of all ground formulas. merrie).} and B = {P (a).g. Merrie). michael) is not unsatisfiable. Exercise: Modify the interpretation I to produce an alternative interpretation I ′ that satisfies older(instructor of(michael). for all 4 .. (Michael. The Herbrand method is an analogous procedure that is applicable to knowledge bases of predicate calculus in normal form. Tish). merrieM ) ∈ olderM iff (Amy. (Tish. this question can be answered via the truth-table method. . the Herbrand universe A is the set of all ground terms.. f. merrie) iff (I[instructor of(merrie)]. is it the case that all models of KB are also models of φ? In propositional logic. Merrie). however. cM = c. if A = {a. 5.Amy). b. Note that if an alphabet A contains any function symbols. I |= older(instructor of(michael). michaelM ) ∈ olderM iff (Amy. does the knowledge base KB semantically entail φ: i. P (·)}..e. .1 Herbrand’s Theorem Given an alphabet A. A Herbrand interpretation. P }.. . 2009 – instructor ofM = {(Tish. michael). then both the Herbrand universe and the Herbrand base are infinite: e.e. I[michael]) ∈ olderM iff (instructor ofM (michaelM ). michael). . then A = {a. Tish). (Amy.Amy)} • predicate symbols – olderM = {(Michael. (Amy. if A = {a. f (a). 5 Logical Entailment Recall that the logical entailment problem is the following: given knowledge base KB and formula φ. Amy). P (b)}.Amy). Mar 5. Merrie) ∈ olderM I does not satisfy older(instructor of(michael).e.CS 141 Lecture 12: Predicate Calculus 10:30 AM. P (f (f (a))). b} and B = {P (a). f (f (a)).

g(a)). Given an (Herbrand) interpretation H = hD ′ . Corollary: [Herbrand’s Theorem] A set of predicate calculus formulas has a model iff it has a Herbrand model. and checking whether or not Q(b) also holds in these interpretations. or if the alphabet contains any function symbols. 2009 constant symbols c. .g. objects in k the domain). (g(a). {P (b)}.2 Herbrand’s Method Assuming a finite number of constant and predicate symbols. and P M = {a}. f. the four possible interpretations are: the empty set. bM = 2. M ′ i with D ′ = D and aM = a. f (a)). (f (a). g(f (a)). Consequently. g(f (a))). g(g(f (a)))).} Herbrand interpretations do not restrict the interpretation of predicates. For example. (f (f (a)). (namely P M = ∅. 5. with D′ equal to the Herbrand base and M ′ mapping terms into themselves. Herbrand’s method can be exceedingly expensive. because the Herbrand universe is infinite. P M = {b}. . assume A = {a. The Herbrand interpretations in which P (a) ∨ Q(b) and ¬P (a) hold are listed in Table 1. Theorem: A predicate calculus formula has a model iff it has a Herbrand model. . P (·)}. QM = {a. then f M = {(a. Thus.} and gM = {(a. Otherwise (i. f (a)) | a ∈ A}. But an interpretation I with D = {1.. and P M = {1}. Assuming n constants (i. M ′ i with D ′ = D and aM = a. b}) so too does Q(b). each Herbrand interpretation is identified with some subset of the Herbrand base. f (g(aa)). . g}. {b}. . (f (f (a)). and one predicate of arity k. and P M = {a. we can determine whether or not P (a) ∨ Q(b) and ¬P (a) entail Q(b) by enumerating all Herbrand interpretations in which P (a) ∨ Q(b) and ¬P (a) hold. If A = {a. QM = {b}. 5 . if φ has a Herbrand model. M ′ i. Suppose I |= φ. b}.. (g(f (a)). . . aM = a and bM = b. This procedure is called Herbrand’s method. . and {P (a). g(f (f (a)))). tn )} If φ is an atomic formula. it is theoretically possible to solve the logical entailment problem for predicate calculus via brute force by enumerating all Herbrand interpretations. I[tn ]) | I |= P (t1 .e. However. . then in every Herbrand interpretation D = {a. b}. for all function symbols f ). An interpretation I with D = {1. Mar 5. (g(a). and P M = {1}. it suffices to show that if φ has a model. then φ has a Herbrand model. f (g(f (a)))).. (g(f (a)). {a}. then φ has a model. (f (a). corresponds to ′ ′ ′ Herbrand interpretation H = hD ′ . b. Thus. QM = {a. f (f (a)). f (a).CS 141 Lecture 12: Predicate Calculus 10:30 AM. bM = b. g(g(a))). and f M = {(a.}. b}. For example. b. . {a.e. g(a). corresponds to ′ ′ ′ Herbrand interpretation H = hD ′ . P M = {b}. then this method is not effective. Clearly. P M = ∅. . so that A = {a. {P (a)}. extend the mapping M ′ as follows: for all n-ary predicates P . P (b)}. the proof follows by induction on the structure of φ. in all such interpretations in which both these formulas hold. . . N). Worse. I |= φ iff H |= φ. . f (g(a))). ′ P M = {(H[t1 ]. Indeed. bM = b. b}}. ⋄ Example: Continuing with the above example. we resort to proof theory to solve the logical entailment problem for predicate calculus and first-order logic. there are 2n Herbrand interpretations. . P (·)}. . 2} with aM = 1. QM = {b}. f (f (a))). 2} with aM = 1. In other words. g(g(a)). if the number of constant symbols is infinite (e. f (f (f (a)))). if φ is a complex formula). bM = 1. and P M ∈ {{}. Proof: Let φ denote a formula of predicate calculus. then by construction. if A = {a. .

b} {a} – – {a. b} ∅ {a. b} {b} – – {a. 2009 PM QM P (a) ∨ Q(b) ¬P (a) ∅ ∅ – – ∅ ∅ ∅ {a} – – ∅ {a} ∅ {b} ∅ {b} ∅ {b} ∅ {a. b} {a} {a. b} {a. Mar 5. b} {a. b} – – Table 1: Herbrand’s Method: An Example 6 . b} – – {b} ∅ – – {b} ∅ {b} {a} – – {b} {a} {b} {b} {b} {b} {b} {b} {b} {a. b} {a} ∅ {a} ∅ – – {a} {a} {a} {a} – – {a} {b} {a} {b} – – {a} {a. b} ∅ {a. b} {a. b} {a.CS 141 Lecture 12: Predicate Calculus 10:30 AM. b} ∅ – – {a. b} ∅ {a. b} {b} {a. b} {b} {a. b} {a} {a. b} {b} {a.

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