Church lambda-abstraction

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A notation for introducing functions in the languages of mathematical logic, in particular in combinatory logic. More precisely, if in an exact language a term $A$ has been defined, expressing an object of the theory and depending on parameters $x_1,\dots,x_n$ (and possibly also on other parameters), then

$$\lambda x_1,\dots,x_nA\label{*}\tag{*}$$

serves in the language as the notation for the function that transforms the values of the arguments $x_1,\dots,x_n$ into the object expressed by the term $A$. The expression \eqref{*} is also called a Church $\lambda$-abstraction. This Church $\lambda$-abstraction, also called an explicit definition of a function, is used mostly when in the language of a theory there is danger of confusing functions as objects of study with the values of functions for certain values of the arguments. Introduced by A. Church [1].


[1] A. Church, "The calculi of $\lambda$-conversion" , Princeton Univ. Press (1941)
[2] H.B. Curry, "Foundations of mathematical logic" , McGraw-Hill (1963)



[a1] H.P. Barendrecht, "The lambda-calculus, its syntax and semantics" , North-Holland (1978)
How to Cite This Entry:
Church lambda-abstraction. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This article was adapted from an original article by A.G. Dragalin (originator), which appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098. See original article