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I'm wondering how to reduce these kinds of sentences/facts to elementary facts. In this case all cars have parts from either one or several manufacturers, can't have zero or any other option, in other words a car must have either one or several.

It is said that elementary facts normally don't contain the word "or". So let's say that we for example want to reduce the following sentence into elementary facts:

"The car model ... has parts from one or several manufacturers."

Now the following applies:

  • One car must have parts from one manufacturer or several.
  • One car can't have parts from zero manufacturers.

Which means that if one manufacturer doesn't apply, then it must be several manufacturers.

We can't say the following because it doesn't exclude zero and they don't imply that at least one of the sentences must apply in any given case:

  • One car can have parts from one manufacturer
  • One car can have parts from several manufacturers

If we say this instead we exclude the other possibility which is also wrong:

  • One car must have parts from one manufacturer.
  • One car must have parts from several manufacturers

So my question is the initial sentence reduced to an elementary fact "The car model ... has parts from from one or several manufacturers." and if not what would it be?

Elementary facts are irreducible in the sense that they can't be split up further. But should are we allowed to use "one/several" in an elementary fact in order to avoid the word "or" or isn't this valid? So in other words can everything we want to state in elementary fact form be in one elementary fact only or do we need two of them, and if so how would it be formulated?

EDIT: This is intended for computer language on a later stage, but this question is basically just for the "language part" and not the implementation part translating it into a computer language.

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, Robusto, Chenmunka, FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth Aug 21 '15 at 20:19

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  • The example I used might not be the best possible one, cause as you say it is reasonable to believe that any car has parts from several manufacturers and not only one. Yeah each car has multiple parts (plural in all cases), so it basically boils down to that there are only 2 possible scenarios which are: either the car has parts from several manufacturers or only one, any other scenario is out of the question. In other words minimum amount of manufacturers is 1 and there is no maximum (no more than two manufacturers does not apply). – BoroBorooooooooooooooooooooooo Aug 21 '15 at 15:23
  • But the key issue here as well is that I want to make it clear with elementary facts that any given car must fulfill either of the two scenarios, there is no exception. And yes this is intended for machines to understand, so it must include what to us humans might appear obvious. – BoroBorooooooooooooooooooooooo Aug 21 '15 at 15:26
  • Sorry about the confusion regarding the number of suppliers, someone edited my post and added the number 2 without me realizing it, i corrected that now. When it comes to the categorization of this i thought it was mostly related to the english language, we can say it involves language, semantics, propositions, ontology, but yes intended for use later on after further modelling in computer related areas. However my question was given the exact answer (by Tim Romano) I was after which is why I accepted it, and imho i regard this as a valid question related to the english language. – BoroBorooooooooooooooooooooooo Aug 24 '15 at 17:59
  • But if others disagree I'll happily move this post to a more appropiate section. – BoroBorooooooooooooooooooooooo Aug 24 '15 at 17:59
  • The question is basically just for the "language part" and not the implementation part translating it into a computer language. – BoroBorooooooooooooooooooooooo Aug 24 '15 at 18:09
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But are we allowed to use "one/several" in an elementary fact in order to avoid the word "or"?

The car must use parts from at least one manufacturer.
The car must use parts from at least two manufacturers.

Whatever the number requirement is, substitute it.

If you are speaking to a robot, and not to a human being:

The car must use at least one part from at least one manufacturer.
The car must use at least one part from each of at least two manufacturers.

The robot might think "a part" specified no more than one part, so we say "at least one part". But in natural language, we would say "...must use a part from..."

With the super ice-cream sundae the customer can choose at most three flavors.**

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