Domain of discourse  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The domain of discourse, also called the universe of discourse (or simply universe), is an analytic tool used in deductive logic, especially predicate logic. It indicates the relevant set of entities that are being dealt with by quantifiers.

For example, in an interpretation of first-order logic, the domain of discourse is the set of individuals that the quantifiers range over. In one interpretation, the domain of discourse could be the set of all real numbers; in another interpretation, it could be the set of natural numbers.

The term universe of discourse generally refers to the collection of objects being discussed in a specific discourse. In model-theoretical semantics, a universe of discourse is the set of entities that a model is based on. The term universe of discourse is generally attributed to Augustus De Morgan (1846) and was also used by George Boole (1854) in his Laws of Thought.

A database is a model of some aspect of the reality of an organisation. It is conventional to call this reality the "universe of discourse" or "domain of discourse".

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