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Logic is a language for reasoning. It is a collection of rules we use when doing logical reasoning. Human reasoning has been observed over centuries from at least the times of Greeks, and patterns appearing in reasoning have been extracted, abstracted, and streamlined. The foundation of the logic we are going to learn here was laid down by a British mathematician George Boole in the middle of the 19th century, and it was further developed and used in an attempt to derive all of mathematics by Gottlob Frege, a German mathematician, towards the end of the 19th century. A British philosopher/mathematician, Bertrand Russell, found a flaw in basic assumptions in Frege's attempt but he, together with Alfred Whitehead, developed Frege's work further and repaired the damage. The logic we study today is more or less along this line.
In logic we are interested in true or false of statements, and how the truth/falsehood of a statement can be determined from other statements. However, instead of dealing with individual specific statements, we are going to use symbols to represent arbitrary statements so that the results can be used in many similar but different cases. The formalization also promotes the clarity of thought and eliminates mistakes.
There are various types of logic such as logic of sentences (propositional logic), logic of objects (predicate logic), logic involving uncertainties, logic dealing with fuzziness, temporal logic etc. Here we are going to be concerned with propositional logic and predicate logic, which are fundamental to all types of logic.
Propositional logic is a logic at the sentential level. The smallest unit we deal with in propositional logic is a sentence. We do not go inside individual sentences and analyze or discuss their meanings. We are going to be interested only in true or false of sentences, and major concern is whether or not the truth or falsehood of a certain sentence follows from those of a set of sentences, and if so, how. Thus sentences considered in this logic are not arbitrary sentences but are the ones that are true or false. This kind of sentences are called propositions.
Sentences considered in propositional logic are not arbitrary sentences but are the ones that are either true or false, but not both. This kind of sentences are called propositions. If a proposition is true, then we say it has a truth value of "true"; if a proposition is false, its truth value is "false".
For example, "Grass is green", and "2 + 5 = 5" are propositions. The first proposition has the truth value of "true" and the second "false".
But "Close the door", and "Is it hot outside?" are not propositions. Also "x is greater than 2", where x is a variable representing a number, is not a proposition, because unless a specific value is given to x we can not say whether it is true or false, nor do we know what x represents.
Similarly "x = x" is not a proposition because we don't know what "x" represents hence what "=" means. For example, while we understand what "3 = 3" means, what does "Air is equal to air" or "Water is equal to water" mean? Does it mean a mass of air is equal to another mass or the concept of air is equal to the concept of air? We don't quite know what "x = x" mean. Thus we can not say whether it is true or not. Hence it is not a proposition.
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