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A sentence (or proposition) is an expression which is either true or false. The sentence \u201c2 + 2 = 4\u201d is true, while the sentence \u201c\u03c0 is rational\u201d is false. It is, however, not the task of logic to decide whether any particular sentence is true or false. In fact, there are many sentences whose truth or falsity nobody has yet managed to establish; for example, the famous Goldbach conjecture that \u201cevery even number greater than 2 is a sum of two primes\u201d.
There is a defect in our de\ufb01nition. It is sometimes very di\ufb03cult, under our de\ufb01nition, to determine whether or not a given expression is a sentence. Consider, for example, the expression \u201cI am telling a lie\u201d; am I?
true and the sentenceq is false. To understand this, note that if we draw a false conclusion from a true assumption, then our argument must be faulty. On the other hand, if our assumption is false or if our conclusion is true, then our argument may still be acceptable.
Example 1.2.3.The sentencep\u2228pis a tautology.
Example 1.2.4.The sentence (p\u2192 q)\u2194 (q\u2192 p) is a tautology.
Example 1.2.5.The sentence (p\u2192 q)\u2194 (p\u2228 q) is a tautology.
(a)(MODUS PONENS) (p\u2227(p\u2192 q))\u2192q;
(b)(MODUS TOLLENS) ((p\u2192 q)\u2227q)\u2192 p;
(c)(LAW OF SYLLOGISM) ((p\u2192 q)\u2227 (q\u2192 r))\u2192 (p\u2192 r).
Suppose \ufb01rst of all that the sentencep\u2227 (q\u2228 r) is true. Then the two sentencesp,q\u2228 r are both true. Since the sentenceq\u2228 r is true, at least one of the two sentencesq,r is true. Without loss of generality, assume that the sentenceq is true. Then the sentencep\u2227 q is true. It follows that the sentence (p\u2227 q)\u2228 (p\u2227 r) is true.
It now follows that the two sentencesp\u2227 (q\u2228 r) and (p\u2227 q)\u2228 (p\u2227 r) are either both true or both false, as the truth of one implies the truth of the other. It follows that the double conditional (p\u2227 (q\u2228 r))\u2194 ((p\u2227 q)\u2228 (p\u2227 r)) is a tautology.
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