[FOM] FOM Formation Rules

Steven Ericsson-Zenith steven at semeiosis.org
Thu Oct 19 19:35:21 EDT 2006

Dear Richard,

I am not able to give a definitive answer to your original question.

I am, however, a little surprised that no-one has mentioned Carnap.  
According to his "Logical Syntax of Language" (1938) :

"A theory, a rule, a definition, or the like is to be called 'formal'  
when no reference is made in it either to the meaning of the  
symbols ... or to the sense of the expressions ... but simply and  
solely to the kinds and order from which the symbols are constructed."
Rudolf Carnap. LSoL. Second Paragraph of the Introduction.

I think this is the clearest and most desirable explanation I know of  
and I believe that this same work at least meets your criteria even  
if it does not have priority. If it doesn't I'd be please to hear why.

With respect,

On Oct 19, 2006, at 11:42 AM, Richard Heck wrote:

> 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.

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