As the site grows we will probably be seeing more and more symbolic logic around the place. I wonder if it's worthwhile trying to standardize this from an early stage. Or is such a program simply too proscriptive and downright anal?
- With an associated glossary, everyone will be on the same page.
- It's arguably easier for beginners to learn just one system of symbols initially.
- Aside from writing your own text-book, it's a rare (impossible?) thing to be able to standardize a system. If we can do this from the outset, then why shouldn't we?
- The basic core of symbols is comprised of relatively few members.
- If you've already learned, and are familiar with, one specific system, why should you be forced into using another set of symbols?
- Those consulting the web or text-books will come across other notation systems anyway.
- Not all world keyboards make it easy to type the common particles for any given system.
- There are just too many symbols to cover.
- This would potentially be a lot of work for the moderators, and for minimal gain.
- The phil.SE may turn out to have a much greater natural language vs. formal language bent.
Perhaps a reasonable middle ground would be to expect that users composing questions or answers try their best to be consistent within that particular slab of text. If there are spectacularly egregious fluctuations in technique within one body of text, then it may be appropriate for a mod to step in and clean things up a bit for the sake of clarity.
Is there any precedence on other SEs for strict adherence to defined sets of symbols? On the Unix.SE, for example, everyone knows what
/dev/sdb3 means; it would reflect poorly on the user if she were to write
/DEV/SDB3 instead (although people reading would still understand). On the Math.SE I imagine, although I'm not sure, that the use of symbols is quite strictly adhered to, lest readers may not understand what is being discussed.
Where does philosophy sit on this issue?
THE BEGINNINGS OF A PROPOSED GLOSSARY:
FWIW, I use the following basic symbols:
- negation (¬)
- conjunction (∧)
- disjunction (∨)
- material implication (⊃)
- biconditional (≡)
- Sheffer stroke (↑)
- universal quantification (∀)
- existential quantification (∃)
- 'it is necessary that' (□)
- 'it is possible that' (◇)
- therefore (∴)
Alternatively, we could take the already well-stocked Wikipedia page describing logical connectives. The disadvantage to this is that multiple forms are given for each symbol.