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Discrete Mathematics Course. Computational focus on algebra, logic and proofs.

Discrete Mathematics Course. Computational focus on algebra, logic and proofs.

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DISCRETE MATHEMATICS

W W L CHEN

c

W W L Chen, 1982, 2008.This chapter originates from material used by the author at Imperial College, University of London, between 1981 and 1990.It is available free to all individuals, on the understanding that it is not to be used for ﬁnancial gain,and may be downloaded and/or photocopied, with or without permission from the author.However, this document may not be kept on any information storage and retrieval system without permissionfrom the author, unless such system is not accessible to any individuals other than its owners.

Chapter 1

LOGIC AND SETS

1.1. Sentences

In this section, we look at sentences, their truth or falsity, and ways of combining or connecting sentencesto produce new sentences.A sentence (or proposition) is an expression which is either true or false. The sentence “2 + 2 = 4” istrue, while the sentence “

π

is rational” is false. It is, however, not the task of logic to decide whetherany particular sentence is true or false. In fact, there are many sentences whose truth or falsity nobodyhas yet managed to establish; for example, the famous Goldbach conjecture that “every even numbergreater than 2 is a sum of two primes”.There is a defect in our deﬁnition. It is sometimes very diﬃcult, under our deﬁnition, to determinewhether or not a given expression is a sentence. Consider, for example, the expression “I am telling alie”; am I?Since there are expressions which are sentences under our deﬁnition, we proceed to discuss ways of connecting sentences to form new sentences.Let

p

and

q

denote sentences.

Definition.

(CONJUNCTION) We say that the sentence

p

∧

q

(

p

and

q

) is true if the two sentences

p

,

q

are both true, and is false otherwise.

Example 1.1.1.

The sentence “2 + 2 = 4 and 2 + 3 = 5” is true.

Example 1.1.2.

The sentence “2 + 2 = 4 and

π

is rational” is false.

Chapter 1 : Logic and Sets

page 1 of 9

Discrete Mathematics

c

W W L Chen, 1982, 2008

Definition.

(DISJUNCTION) We say that the sentence

p

∨

q

(

p

or

q

) is true if at least one of twosentences

p

,

q

is true, and is false otherwise.

Example 1.1.3.

The sentence “2 + 2 = 2 or 1 + 3 = 5” is false.

Example 1.1.4.

The sentence “2 + 2 = 4 or

π

is rational” is true.

Remark.

To prove that a sentence

p

∨

q

is true, we may assume that the sentence

p

is false and use thisto deduce that the sentence

q

is true in this case. For if the sentence

p

is true, our argument is alreadycomplete, never mind the truth or falsity of the sentence

q

.

Definition.

(NEGATION) We say that the sentence

p

(not

p

) is true if the sentence

p

is false, and isfalse if the sentence

p

is true.

Example 1.1.5.

The negation of the sentence “2 + 2 = 4” is the sentence “2 + 2

= 4”.

Example 1.1.6.

The negation of the sentence “

π

is rational” is the sentence “

π

is irrational”.

Definition.

(CONDITIONAL) We say that the sentence

p

→

q

(if

p

, then

q

) is true if the sentence

p

is false or if the sentence

q

is true or both, and is false otherwise.

Remark.

It is convenient to realize that the sentence

p

→

q

is false precisely when the sentence

p

istrue and the sentence

q

is false. To understand this, note that if we draw a false conclusion from a trueassumption, then our argument must be faulty. On the other hand, if our assumption is false or if ourconclusion is true, then our argument may still be acceptable.

Example 1.1.7.

The sentence “if 2 + 2 = 2, then 1 + 3 = 5” is true, because the sentence “2 + 2 = 2”is false.

Example 1.1.8.

The sentence “if 2 + 2 = 4, then

π

is rational” is false.

Example 1.1.9.

The sentence “if

π

is rational, then 2 + 2 = 4” is true.

Definition.

(DOUBLE CONDITIONAL) We say that the sentence

p

↔

q

(

p

if and only if

q

) is true if the two sentences

p

,

q

are both true or both false, and is false otherwise.

Example 1.1.10.

The sentence “2 + 2 = 4 if and only if

π

is irrational” is true.

Example 1.1.11.

The sentence “2 + 2

= 4 if and only if

π

is rational” is also true.If we use the letter

T

to denote “true” and the letter

F

to denote “false”, then the above ﬁve deﬁnitionscan be summarized in the following “truth table”:

p q p

∧

q p

∨

q p p

→

q p

↔

qT T T T F T T T F F T F F F F T F T T T F F F F F T T T

Remark.

Note that in logic, “or” can mean “both”. If you ask a logician whether he likes tea or coﬀee,do not be surprised if he wants both!

Chapter 1 : Logic and Sets

page 2 of 9

Discrete Mathematics

c

W W L Chen, 1982, 2008

Example 1.1.12.

The sentence (

p

∨

q

)

∧

(

p

∧

q

) is true if exactly one of the two sentences

p

,

q

is true,and is false otherwise; we have the following “truth table”:

p q p

∧

q p

∨

q p

∧

q

(

p

∨

q

)

∧

(

p

∧

q

)

T T T T F F T F F T T T F T F T T T F F F F T F

1.2. Tautologies and Logical Equivalence

Definition.

A tautology is a sentence which is true on logical ground only.

Example 1.2.1.

The sentences (

p

∧

(

q

∧

r

))

↔

((

p

∧

q

)

∧

r

) and (

p

∧

q

)

↔

(

q

∧

p

) are both tautologies.This enables us to generalize the deﬁnition of conjunction to more than two sentences, and write, forexample,

p

∧

q

∧

r

without causing any ambiguity.

Example 1.2.2.

The sentences (

p

∨

(

q

∨

r

))

↔

((

p

∨

q

)

∨

r

) and (

p

∨

q

)

↔

(

q

∨

p

) are both tautologies.This enables us to generalize the deﬁnition of disjunction to more than two sentences, and write, forexample,

p

∨

q

∨

r

without causing any ambiguity.

Example 1.2.3.

The sentence

p

∨

p

is a tautology.

Example 1.2.4.

The sentence (

p

→

q

)

↔

(

q

→

p

) is a tautology.

Example 1.2.5.

The sentence (

p

→

q

)

↔

(

p

∨

q

) is a tautology.

Example 1.2.6.

The sentence (

p

↔

q

)

↔

((

p

∨

q

)

∧

(

p

∧

q

)) is a tautology; we have the following “truthtable”:

p q p

↔

q

(

p

↔

q

) (

p

∨

q

)

∧

(

p

∧

q

) (

p

↔

q

)

↔

((

p

∨

q

)

∧

(

p

∧

q

))

T T T F F T T F F T T T F T F T T T F F T F F T

The following are tautologies which are commonly used. Let

p

,

q

and

r

denote sentences.

DISTRIBUTIVE LAW.

The following sentences are tautologies:(a)

(

p

∧

(

q

∨

r

))

↔

((

p

∧

q

)

∨

(

p

∧

r

))

;(b)

(

p

∨

(

q

∧

r

))

↔

((

p

∨

q

)

∧

(

p

∨

r

))

.

DE MORGAN LAW.

The following sentences are tautologies:(a)

(

p

∧

q

)

↔

(

p

∨

q

)

;(b)

(

p

∨

q

)

↔

(

p

∧

q

)

.

INFERENCE LAW.

The following sentences are tautologies:(a)

(MODUS PONENS) (

p

∧

(

p

→

q

))

→

q

;(b)

(MODUS TOLLENS) ((

p

→

q

)

∧

q

)

→

p

;(c)

(LAW OF SYLLOGISM) ((

p

→

q

)

∧

(

q

→

r

))

→

(

p

→

r

)

.

Chapter 1 : Logic and Sets

page 3 of 9

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