Parametric polymorphism - universally

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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In the 1980s, John Reynolds postulated that a parametrically polymorphic function is an ad-hoc polymorphic function satisfying a uniformity principle. This allowed him to prove that his set-theoretic semantics has a relational lifting which satisfies the Identity Extension Lemma and the Abstraction Theorem. However, his definition (and subsequent variants) have only been given for specific models. In contrast, we give a model-independent axiomatic treatment by characterising Reynolds' definition via a universal property, and show that the above results follow from this universal property in the axiomatic setting.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLogic, Language, Information, and Computation
Subtitle of host publication22nd International Workshop, WoLLIC 2015, Bloomington, IN, USA, July 20-23, 2015, Proceedings
EditorsValeria de Paiva, Ruy de Queiroz, Lawrence S. Moss, Daniel Leivant, Anjolina G. de Oliveira
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2015
EventWorkshop on Logic, Language and Information (WoLLIC 2015) - Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, United States
Duration: 20 Jul 201523 Jul 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer, Heidelberg
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


ConferenceWorkshop on Logic, Language and Information (WoLLIC 2015)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBloomington, IN


  • parametric polymorphism
  • type theory
  • programming


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