## 1.6. The limits of science

Predicate Logic (algebra) has a fundamental problem when applied to linguistics: It doesn’t naturally go beyond the present tense of basic verb “to be”. This defines the limits of science. It will be illustrated by three examples: Competence, touching the limits, and incompetence.

**1) Calculation that can be automated through an algorithm:**

The following calculation can be automated through current techniques – from a sentence with basic verb “is/are”, through an algorithm, back to a self-constructed sentence with basic verb “is/are” – because basic verb “is/are” is supported by algebra / Predicate Logic:

> Given: “Amy **is** 9 years old.”

> Given: “Shirley **is** 2 years older than Amy.”

•

• Logical conclusions:

< “Shirley **is** 11 years old.”

**2) Automated calculation that touches the limits of science:**

The following calculation can be automated through current techniques. But it touches the limits of science:

> Given: “Amy **has** three apples.”

> Given: “Shirley **has** four apples.”

•

• A logical conclusion would be:

< “Amy and Shirley **have** seven apples (together).”

However, algebra / Predicate Logic is not defined for possessive verb “has/have”. So, in a strict scientific sense, this conclusion can't be automated through an algorithm, because the use of possessive verb “has/have” is not supported by algebra / Predicate Logic.

But when we encounter a calculation containing possessive verb “has/have”, we have been unconsciously taught at elementary school to convert it into a verb “is/are” problem first:

•

• Logical conclusion:

< “Three apples and four apples **are** seven apples (together).”

This conclusion is of course the linguistic equivalent of equation “3 + 4 = 7”, which is supported by algebra. So, the problem is solved thanks to a workaround.

**3) Automated assumption, out of scientific reach:**

The following assumption can't be automated in a strict scientific sense, because the use of possessive verb “has/have” is not supported by algebra / Predicate Logic:

> Given: “Every liquid **has** a specific boiling point.”

> Given: “Water **has** a boiling point of 100 degrees centigrade at 1 bar air pressure.”

•

• Logical assumption:

< “Water **is** probably a liquid.”

Any algorithm that implements this conversion, is not supported by algebra / Predicate Logic, and therefore not supported by science. This defines the limits of science.

If you don’t agree, please provide me a peer-reviewed scientific paper describing a similar conversion, from a sentence with possessive verb “has/have”, through an algorithm, to a self-constructed sentence with basic verb “is/are”, or vice versa.