FOM: organizing; Boolean rings; signature

Stephen G Simpson simpson at
Wed Mar 18 22:50:34 EST 1998

Vaughan Pratt writes:
 > I count Harvey as an accessory to Steve's organizing, which on the
 > administrative side btw is excellent.

Is this a reference to the adroit way that Harvey and I are running
the good-cop-bad-cop routine?  Just kidding.  Seriously, could you
people please give me some feedback about the search engines on the
FOM web page at ?

 > the Boolean ring/algebra debate has been very instructive for me,
 > especially the extended offline correspondence I've been having
 > with Steve this past week ...

I wish the off-line Pratt-Simpson correspondence were on-line for
everybody to see.  It's truly amazing.  Basically, Pratt wants to
dispense with the well-known notion of "signature" (i.e. a set of
symbols with arities assigned) and replace it with an incredibly
complicated set of alternative concepts which are most conveniently
expressed in terms of category theory.  What is the purpose of such a
maneuver?  So far as I can tell, the purpose is to allow Pratt to win
the Boolean rings debate on his own terms by rewriting the entire
literature of algebra, universal algebra, and model theory.  I'm sure
that Pratt will enjoy this exercise.

-- Steve

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