|Section 6.4 of Specifying Systems has a thorough discussion of the tradeoffs between functions and operators . The conclusion is as follows:
When defining an object V, you may have to decide whether to make V an operator that takes an argument or a function. The differences between operators and functions will often determine the decision. [...] If these differences don’t determine whether to use an operator or a function, then the choice is a matter of taste. I usually prefer operators.--
 Since the publication of Specifying Systems, recursive operator definitions have been added to TLA+ and therefore the arguments about recursive definitions no longer apply.
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