Beth Definability for the Guarded Fragment

Eva Hoogland, Maarten Marx, Martin Otto

The guarded fragment (GF) was introduced in [ABN98] as a fragment of first order logic which combines a great expressive power with nice modal behavior. It consists of relational first order formulas whose quantifiers are relativized by atoms in a certain way. While GF has been established as a particularly well-behaved fragment of first order logic in many respects, interpolation fails in restriction to GF, [HM99]. In this paper we consider the Beth property of first order logic and show that, despite the failure of interpolation, it is retained in restriction to GF. Being a closure property w.r.t. definability, the Beth property is of independent interest, both theoretically and for typical potential applications of GF, e.g., in the context of description logics. The Beth property for GF is here established on the basis of a limited form of interpolation, which more closely resembles the interpolation property that is usually studied in modal logics. From this we obtain that, more specifically, even every n-variable guarded fragment with up to n-ary relations has the Beth property.

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