[FOM] FOM Formation Rules

Richard Heck rgheck at brown.edu
Thu Oct 19 14:42:21 EDT 2006

On Mon, 16 Oct 2006, John Corcoran wrote:

> I would like to know when logicians started thinking of formal languages as subsets of the set of finite strings over a finite alphabet, which of course is what they are.
This conception of what formal languages are is not so obvious, not if
"what they are" is meant in any but a very weak sense. Feferman argues,
for example, that we should not think of formal languages this way but
should instead think of complex expressions as inherently structured.
See e.g. "Finitary Inductively Presented Logics". It's perhaps worth
adding that linguists haven't thought of languages this way for a very
long time. (Not that John was saying anything to the contrary.)

Of course, that doesn't make the question any less interesting.

Richard Heck

Richard G Heck, Jr
Professor of Philosophy
Brown University
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