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Next: Entering and Exiting Contexts Up: Formalizing Context (Expanded Notes) Previous: Introduction

Relations among Contexts

    There are many useful relations among contexts and also context valued functions. Here are some.

1. tex2html_wrap_inline3852 is a context related to c in which the time is specialized to have the value t. We may have the relation



Here tex2html_wrap_inline3858 is the assertion that the proposition p holds at time t. We call this a lifting relation. It may be convenient to write tex2html_wrap_inline3864 rather than tex2html_wrap_inline3866 , because this lets us drop t in certain contexts. Many expressions are also better represented using modifiers expressed by functions rather than by using predicates and functions with many arguments. Actions give immediate examples, e.g. tex2html_wrap_inline3870 rather than tex2html_wrap_inline3872 .

Instead of using the function tex2html_wrap_inline3874 , it may be convenient to use a predicate tex2html_wrap_inline3876 and an axiom


This would permit different contexts c1 all of which specialize c2 to a particular time.

There are also relations concerned with specializing places and with specializing speakers and hearers. Such relations permit lifting sentences containing pronouns to contexts not presuming specific places and persons.

2. If q is a proposition and c is a context, then tex2html_wrap_inline3886 is another context like c in which p is assumed, where ``assumed'' is taken in the natural deduction sense. We investigate this further in §5.

3. There is a general relation specializes between contexts. We say tex2html_wrap_inline3892 when c2 involves no more assumptions than c1. We have nonmonotonic relations




This gives nonmonotonic inheritance of tex2html_wrap_inline3898 both from the subcontext to the supercontext and vice versa. More useful is the case when the sentences must change when lifted. Then we need to state that and every proposition meaningful in c1 is translatable into one meaningful in c2. See §4 for an example.

4. A major set of relations that need to be expressed are those between the context of a particular conversation and a subsequent written report about the situation in which the conversation took place. References to persons and objects are decontextualized in the report, and sentences like those given above can be used to express their relations.

5. Consider a wire with a signal on it which may have the value 0 or 1. We can associate a context with this wire that depends on time. Call it tex2html_wrap_inline3904 . Suppose at time 331, the value of this signal is 0. We can write this


Suppose the meaning of the signal is that the door of the microwave oven is open or closed according to whether the signal on tex2html_wrap_inline3906 is 0 or 1. We can then write the lifting relation


The idea is that we can introduce contexts associated with particular parts of a circuit or other system, each with its special language, and lift sentences from this context to sentences meaningful for the system as a whole.

next up previous
Next: Entering and Exiting Contexts Up: Formalizing Context (Expanded Notes) Previous: Introduction

Sasa Buvac
Sun Jul 12 14:45:30 PDT 1998