User Contributed Dictionary
Noun
quantifiers Plural of quantifier
Extensive Definition
Quantification has two distinct meanings.
In mathematics and empirical
science, it refers to human acts, known as counting and measuring that map human sense
observations and
experiences into
members
of some set of numbers. Quantification in this
sense is fundamental to the scientific
method.
In logic, quantification refers to an
operator
that binds a variable
ranging over a domain
of discourse. The variable thereby becomes bound.
Academic discussion of quantification refers more often to this
meaning of the term than the preceding one.
Natural language
All known human languages make use of quantification (Wiese 2004). For example, in English: Every glass in my recent order was chipped.
 Some of the people standing across the river have white armbands.
 Most of the people I talked to didn't have a clue who the candidates were.
 Everyone in the waiting room had at least one complaint against Dr. Ballyhoo.
 There was somebody in his class that was able to correctly answer every one of the questions I submitted.
 A lot of people are smart.
The words in italics are called
quantifiers.
There exists no simple way of reformulating any
one of these expressions as a conjunction or disjunction of
sentences, each a simple predicate of an individual such as That
wine glass was chipped. These examples also suggest that the
construction of quantified expressions in natural language can be
syntactically very complicated. Fortunately, for mathematical
assertions, the quantification process is syntactically more
straightforward.
The study of quantification in natural languages
is much more difficult than the corresponding problem for formal
languages. This comes in part from the fact that the grammatical
structure of natural language sentences may conceal the logical
structure. Moreover, mathematical conventions strictly specify the
range of validity for formal language quantifiers; for natural
language, specifying the range of validity requires dealing with
nontrivial semantic problems.
Montague
grammar gives a novel formal semantics of natural languages.
Its proponents argue that it provides a much more natural formal
rendering of natural language than the traditional treatments of
Frege,
Russell
and Quine.
Logic
More specifically, in language and logic, quantification is a construct that specifies the quantity of individuals of the domain of discourse that apply to (or satisfy) an open formula. For example, in arithmetic, it allows the expression of the statement that every natural number has a successor, and in logic, that something (at least one thing) in the domain of discourse has a certain property, i.e., there exist things with that property in the domain. A language element which generates a quantification is called a quantifier. The resulting expression is a quantified expression, and we say we have quantified over the predicate or function expression whose free variable is bound by the quantifier. Quantification is used in both natural languages and formal languages. Examples of quantifiers in a natural language are: for all, for some, many, few, a lot, and no. In formal languages, quantification is a formula constructor that produces new formulas from old ones. The semantics of the language specifies how the constructor is interpreted as an extent of validity. Quantification is an example of a variablebinding operation.The two fundamental kinds of quantification in
predicate
logic are universal
quantification and existential
quantification. These concepts are covered in detail in their
individual articles; here we discuss features of quantification
that apply in both cases. Other kinds of quantification include
uniqueness
quantification.
The traditional symbol for the universal
quantifier "all" is "∀", an inverted letter "A", and for the
existential quantifier "exists" is "∃", a rotated letter "E". These quantifiers
have been generalized beginning with the work of Mostowski and
Lindström. See generalized
quantifier and Lindström
quantifier for further details.
Mathematics
We will begin by discussing quantification in informal mathematical discourse. Consider the following statement 1·2 = 1 + 1, and 2·2 = 2 + 2, and 3 · 2 = 3 + 3, ...., and n · 2 = n + n, etc.
 For any natural number n, n·2 = n + n.
 1 is prime, or 2 is prime, or 3 is prime, etc.
 For some natural number n, n is prime.
It is possible to devise abstract
algebras whose models
include formal
languages with quantification, but progress has been slow and
interest in such algebra has been limited. Three approaches have
been devised to date:
 Relation algebra, invented by DeMorgan, and developed by Ernst Schroder, Tarski, and Tarski's students. Relation algebra cannot represent any formula with quantifiers nested more than three deep. Surprisingly, the models of relation algebra include the axiomatic set theory ZFC and Peano arithmetic;
 Cylindric algebra, devised by Tarski, Henkin, and others;
 The polyadic algebra of Paul Halmos.
Notation
The traditional symbol for the universal quantifier is "∀", an inverted letter "A", which stands for the word "all". The corresponding symbol for the existential quantifier is "∃", a rotated letter "E", which stands for the word "exists". Correspondingly, quantified expressions are constructed as follows, \exists\, P \quad \forall\, P
 \exists\, P \quad (\exists) P \quad (\exists x \ . \ P) \quad (\exists x : P) \quad \exists(P) \quad \exists_\, P \quad \exists\, P \quad \exists\mathbb\, P \quad \exists\, x\mathbb\, P
 (x) \, P \quad \bigwedge_ P
Note that some versions of the notation
explicitly mention the range of quantification. The range of
quantification must always be specified, but for a given
mathematical theory, this can be done in several ways:
 Assume a fixed domain of discourse for every quantification, as is done in Zermelo Fraenkel set theory,
 Fix several domains of discourse in advance and require that each variable have a declared domain, which is the type of that variable. This is analogous to the situation in statically typed computer programming languages, where variables have declared types.
 Mention explicitly the range of quantification, perhaps using a symbol for the set of all objects in that domain or the type of the objects in that domain.
Also note that one can use any variable as a
quantified variable in place of any other, under certain
restrictions, that is in which variable capture does not occur.
Even if the notation uses typed variables, one can still use any
variable of that type. The issue of variable capture is exceedingly
important, and we discuss that in the formal semantics below.
Informally, the "∀x" or "∃x" might well appear
after P(x), or even in the middle if P(x) is a long phrase.
Formally, however, the phrase that introduces the dummy variable is
standardly placed in front. See also above.
Note that mathematical formulas mix symbolic
expressions for quantifiers, with natural language quantifiers such
as
 For any natural number x, ....
 There exists an x such that ....
 For at least one x.
 For exactly one natural number x, ....
 There is one and only one x such that ....
 For any natural number, its product with 2 equals to its sum with itself
 Some natural number is prime.
Nesting
Consider the following statement: For any natural number n, there is a natural number s such that s = n × n.
The meaning of the assertion in which the
quantifiers are turned around is quite different:
 There is a natural number s such that for any natural number n, s = n × n.
This illustrates a fundamentally important point
when quantifiers are nested: The order of alternation of
quantifiers is of absolute importance.
A less trivial example is the important concept
of uniform
continuity from analysis,
which differs from the more familiar concept of pointwise
continuity only by an exchange in the positions of two
quantifiers. To illustrate this, let f be a realvalued function on
R.
 A: Pointwise continuity of f on R:

 \underbrace, \exists \delta > 0, \forall h \in \mathbb, \quad h
interchanging the universal quantifiers over the
braces, this is the same as
 A': Pointwise continuity of f on R:

 \forall \epsilon >0, \ \underbrace, \ \forall h \in \mathbb, \quad h
This differs from
 B: Uniform continuity of f on R:

 \forall \epsilon >0, \underbrace, \forall h \in \mathbb, \quad h
Ambiguity is avoided by putting the quantifiers
(in symbols or words) in front:
 \exists A: \forall B: C  unambiguous
 there is an A such that \forall B: C  unambiguous
 there is an A such that for all B, C  unambiguous, provided that the separation between B and C is clear
 there is an A such that C for all B  it is often clear that what is meant is

 there is an A such that (C for all B)
 but it could be interpreted as

 (there is an A such that C) for all B
 there is an A such that C \forall B  suggests more strongly that the first is meant; this may be reinforced by the layout, for example by putting "C \forall B" on a new line.
See also below.
Range of quantification
Every quantification involves one specific variable and a domain of discourse or range of quantification of that variable. The range of quantification specifies the set of values that the variable takes. In the examples above, the range of quantification is the set of natural numbers. Specification of the range of quantification allows us to express the difference between, asserting that a predicate holds for some natural number or for some real number. Expository conventions often reserve some variable names such as "n" for natural numbers and "x" for real numbers, although relying exclusively on naming conventions cannot work in general since ranges of variables can change in the course of a mathematical argument.A more natural way to restrict the domain of
discourse uses guarded quantification. For example, the guarded
quantification
 For some natural number n, n is even and n is prime
 For some even number n, n is prime.
In some mathematical theories one assumes a
single domain of discourse fixed in advance. For example, in
Zermelo
Fraenkel set theory, variables range over all sets. In this case, guarded
quantifiers can be used to mimic a smaller range of quantification.
Thus in the example above to express
 For any natural number n, n·2 = n + n
 For any n, if n belongs to N, then n·2 = n + n,
Formal semantics
Mathematical semantics is the application of mathematics to study the meaning of expressions in a formal—that is, mathematically specified—language. It has three elements: A mathematical specification of a class of objects via syntax, a mathematical specification of various semantic domains and the relation between the two, which is usually expressed as a function from syntactic objects to semantic ones. In this article, we only address the issue of how quantifier elements are interpreted.In this section we only consider firstorder
logic with function symbols. We refer the reader to the article
on model
theory for more information on the interpretation of formulas
within this logical framework. The syntax of a formula can be given
by a syntax tree. Quantifiers have scope and a variable x is
free if it
is not within the scope of a quantification for that variable. Thus
in
 \forall x (\exists y B(x,y)) \vee C(y,x)
An interpretation for firstorder predicate
calculus assumes as given a domain of individuals X. A formula A
whose free variables are x1, ..., xn is interpreted as a booleanvalued function F(v1,
..., vn) of n arguments, where each argument ranges over the domain
X. Booleanvalued means that the function assumes one of the values
T (interpreted as truth) or F (interpreted as falsehood) . The
interpretation of the formula
 \forall x_n A(x_1, \ldots , x_n)
 \exists x_n A(x_1, \ldots , x_n)
The semantics for uniqueness
quantification requires firstorder predicate calculus with
equality. This means there is given a distinguished twoplaced
predicate "="; the semantics is also modified accordingly so that
"=" is always interpreted as the twoplace equality relation on X.
The interpretation of
 \exists ! x_n A(x_1, \ldots , x_n)
 \exists x_n A(x_1, \ldots , x_n)
 \forall y,z \left\
Paucal, multal and other degree quantifiers
So far we have only considered universal,
existential and uniqueness quantification as used in mathematics.
None of this applies to a quantification such as
 There were many dancers out on the dance floor this evening.
Although this article will not treat the
semantics of natural language, we will attempt to provide a
semantics for assertions in a formal language of the type
 There are many integers n < 100, such that n is divisible by 2 or 3 or 5.
One possible interpretation mechanism can
obtained as follows: Suppose that in addition to a semantic domain
X, we have given a probability
measure P defined on X and cutoff numbers 0 1,...,xn whose
interpretation is the function F of variables v1,...,vn then the
interpretation of
 \exists^ x_n A(x_1, \ldots, x_, x_n)
 \operatorname \ \geq b
 \exists^ x_n A(x_1, \ldots, x_, x_n)
 0
We caution the reader that the logic
corresponding to such semantics is exceedingly complicated.
History
Term logic treats quantification in a manner that is closer to natural language, and also less suited to formal analysis. Aristotelian logic treated All, Some and No in the 1st century BC, in an account also touching on the alethic modalities.Gottlob
Frege, in his 1879 Begriffsschrift,
was the first to employ a quantifier to bind a variable ranging
over a domain
of discourse and appearing in predicates. He would
universally quantify a variable (or relation) by writing the
variable over a dimple in an otherwise straight line appearing in
his diagrammatic formulas. Frege did not devise an explicit
notation for existential quantification, instead employing his
equivalent of ~∀x~, or contraposition. Frege's
treatment of quantification went largely unremarked until Bertrand
Russell's 1903 Principles of Mathematics.
In work that culminated in Peirce (1885),
Charles Sanders Peirce and his student O. H. Mitchell
independently invented universal and existential qunatifiers, and
bound
variables. Peirce and Mitchell wrote Πx and Σx where we now
write ∀x and ∃x. Peirce's notation can be found in the writings of
Ernst
Schroder, Leopold
Loewenheim, Thoralf
Skolem, and Polish logicians into the 1950s. Most notably, it
is the notation of Kurt Goedel's
landmark 1930 paper on the
completeness of firstorder
logic, and 1931 paper on the
incompleteness of Peano
arithmetic.
Peirce's approach to quantification also
influenced William
Ernest Johnson and Giuseppe
Peano, who invented yet another notation, namely (x) for the
universal quantification of x and (in 1897) ∃x for the existential
quantification of x. Hence for decades, the canonical notation in
philosophy and mathematical logic was (x)P to express "all
individuals in the domain of discourse have the property P," and
"(∃x)P" for "there exists at least one individual in the domain of
discourse having the property P." Peano, who was much better known
than Peirce, in effect diffused the latter's thinking throughout
Europe. Peano's notation was adopted by the Principia
Mathematica of Whitehead
and Russell,
Quine,
and Alonzo
Church. In 1935, Gentzen introduced
the ∀ symbol, by analogy with Peano's ∃ symbol. ∀ did not become
canonical until the 1960s.
Around 1895, Peirce began developing his existential
graphs, whose variables can be seen as tacitly quantified.
Whether the shallowest instance of a variable is even or odd
determines whether that variable's quantification is universal or
existential. (Shallowness is the contrary of depth, which is
determined by the nesting of negations.) Peirce's graphical logic
has attracted some attention in recent years by those researching
heterogeneous
reasoning and diagrammatic
inference.
Science
Some measure of the undisputed general importance of quantification in the natural sciences can be gleaned from the following comments: these are mere facts, but they are quantitative facts and the basis of science. It seems to be held as universally true that the foundation of quantification is measurement. There is little doubt that quantification provided a basis for the objectivity of science. In ancient times, musicians and artists...rejected quantification, but merchants, by definition, quantified their affairs, in order to survive, made them visible on parchment and paper. Any reasonable comparison between Aristotle and Galileo shows clearly that there can be no unique lawfulness discovered without detailed quantification. Even today, universities use imperfect instruments called 'exams' to indirectly quantify something they call knowledge. This meaning of quantification comes under the heading of pragmatics.Development of quantitification both across species and within humans
In Quantitative analysis of behavior, Evolutionary Psychology and Cognitive Developmental Psychology, quantification is studied as behavior.See also
Notes
References
 Jon Barwise and John Etchemendy, 2000. Language Proof and Logic. CSLI (University of Chicago Press) and New York: Seven Bridges Press. A gentle introduction to firstorder logic by two firstrate logicians.
 Crosby, Alfred W. (1996) The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 12501600. Cambridge University Press.
 Gottlob Frege, 1879. Begriffsschrift. Translated in Jean van Heijenoort, 1967. From Frege to Godel: A Source Book on Mathematical Logic, 18791931. Harvard Univ. Press. The first appearance of quantification.
 David Hilbert and Wilhelm Ackermann, 1950 (1928). Principles of Theoretical Logic. Chelsea. Translation of Grundzüge der theoretischen Logik. SpringerVerlag. The 1928 first edition is the first time quantification was consciously employed in the nowstandar manner, namely as binding variables ranging over some fixed domain of discourse. This is the defining aspect of firstorder logic.
 Charles Peirce, 1885, "On the Algebra of Logic: A Contribution to the Philosophy of Notation, American Journal of Mathematics 7: 180202. Reprinted in Kloesel, N. et al, eds., 1993. Writings of C. S. Peirce, Vol. 5. Indiana Univ. Press. The first appearance of quantification in anything like its present form.
 Hans Reichenbach, 1975 (1947). Elements of Symbolic Logic, Dover Publications. The quantifiers are discussed in chapters §18 "Binding of variables" through §30 "Derivations from Synthetic Premises".
 Wiese, 2003. Numbers, language, and the human mind. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521831822.
 Westerstahl, Dag, 2001, "Quantifiers," in Goble, Lou, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Philosophical Logic. Blackwell.
External links

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
 "Classical Logic  by Stewart Shapiro. Covers syntax, model theory, and metatheory for first order logic in the natural deduction style.
 "Generalized quantifiers"  by Dag Westerstahl.
 Peter, Stanley, and Dag Westerståhl (2002) "Quantifiers."
portalpar Logic
quantifiers in Czech: Kvantifikátor
quantifiers in Danish: Kvantor
quantifiers in German: Quantor
quantifiers in Esperanto: Kvantoro
quantifiers in French: Quantificateur
(logique)
quantifiers in Italian: Quantificatore
quantifiers in Hebrew: כמת
quantifiers in Dutch: Kwantor
quantifiers in Japanese: 量化
quantifiers in Polish: Kwantyfikator
quantifiers in Portuguese: Quantificação
quantifiers in Russian: Квантор
quantifiers in Chinese: 量化
(数理逻辑)