You are on page 1of 4


B.A. Introduction to Logic 2012-13

Lecture 4: Propositional Logic II
Sentence-letters: Upper-case letters from the middle part of the alphabet (e.g. P, Q, R, etc.), which stand for specific sentences. Keys: A key is a box or table that makes it clear which sentence-letters stand for which specific sentences. Logical connectives: Symbols which can be used to combine sentence-letters to produce complex formulas. Brackets: Brackets must be used to eliminate potential ambiguities. Scope: The scope of a connective consists of the connective itself, together with the formula(s) which it connects. The main connective in a formula is the one whose scope is the entire formula.

Arguments in PL are called sequents. Example: Suppose we want to use PL to represent this argument: 1. If its raining, then you need an umbrella. 2. Its raining. So, 3. You need an umbrella. The first step would be to draw up a key, to make it clear which sentence-letters stand for which basic sentences: i) ii) Its raining. You need an umbrella. P Q

We can now formalize the argument as: 1. P Q 2. P So, 3. Q The convention in PL is to write sequents on a single line, with the premises separated from each other by commas, and from the conclusion by a colon. So we write: P Q, P : Q

Sequents in PL are either valid or invalid. If a sequent is valid, we can construct a proof of that sequent. A proof is a step-by-step way of getting from the premises to the conclusion, with each step being justified by a rule. Example: Suppose we want to prove this sequent: P, Q : P & Q A proof consists of a series of lines of proof. The lines of proof are the individual steps which take us from the premises to the conclusion. Each line of proof has four elements, the simplest of which is the line number. Lines are numbered consecutively, with each new line below the last: 1. 2. ... ... The next element on each line is a formula. In our example, the first premise of the sequent were trying to prove is P, so lets start by putting that formula on line 1. 1. P

The third element on any line is the rule annotation. This is where we cite the rule which entitles us to enter the formula which were entering on that line. Question: which rule allows us to enter P on line 1? Answer: the rule of Premise-Introduction. This rule says that we can enter the premises of any sequent on to lines of proof. To make it clear that were using this rule, we write Premise to the right of the formula: 1. P Premise

The last element on a line of proof is a set of dependency-numbers. The dependency-numbers for a line of proof show which other formulas the current formula relies on. Dependency-numbers are written in curly brackets {}, to the left of the relevant line number. Question: what are the dependency-numbers for the first line of our proof? Answer: since the formula on this line is a premise, the dependency-number is just the same as the line number. This reflects the fact that the premises of a sequent are its ultimate building blocks, and are in that sense selfsufficient (they dont rely on anything else). So we can complete the first line like this: {1} 1. P Premise

Here is the official version of the Premise-Introduction rule which were using to write this line: Premise-Introduction: Any well-formed formula may be introduced as a premise on any line of proof. The dependency-number of that line is identical with the line number of that line of proof. Now we move on to the second line. Here it obviously makes sense to enter the sequents second premise, Q. We follow exactly the same procedure that we used on line 1: {1} {2} 1. 2. P Q Premise Premise

The next step is to derive our conclusion P & Q. To do this, we need to use a different rule: &introduction (or &I for short). &I: Any two well-formed formulas may be conjoined. The relevant line numbers and &I must be cited. The dependency-numbers of the new line consist of all the dependency-numbers of both lines used. We can use this rule to write the third line of our proof: {1,2} 3. P&Q 1,2 &I

This completes the proof.

The turnstile symbol

The symbol is called the turnstile. Its used to indicate that a sequent in PL is provable. Example: Since we know that the sequent P, Q : P & Q is provable, we can indicate that fact by replacing the colon with the turnstile: P, Q P & Q Key point: youre only entitled to use the turnstile if the relevant sequent really is provable. If youre not sure whether a sequent is provable, always use a colon instead.

The rule &E

In our previous example, we proved a sequent with a conjunction as its conclusion. Now lets look at a different example, where a sequent contains a conjunction as a premise. Example: Suppose we want to prove this sequent: P&Q:P We start by entering the premise on line 1: {1} 1. P&Q Premise

To derive our conclusion P, we need to use another new rule: &-elimination (or &E for short). &E: One conjunct may be removed from a conjunction by one application of &E. The line number of the conjunction must be cited together with &E. The dependency-numbers of the new line are identical with those of the original line containing the conjunction. We can use this rule to complete our proof: {1} 2. P 1 &E

Another example
Suppose we want to prove this sequent: Q & R, P : (P & Q) & R We start by entering our premises: {1} {2} 1. 2. Q&R P Premise Premise

In this case, we cant move straight to the conclusion (because theres no rule in PL that would entitle us to make that move). This means that we need some intermediate steps: {1} {1} {1,2} 3. 4. 5. Q R P&Q 1 &E 1 &E 2,3 &I

We can now derive our conclusion: {1,2} 6. (P & Q) & R 4,5 &I

Tomassi, P. Logic. Chapter 2, III V.

Exercises 2.2 and 2.3 (dont worry if you havent got time to do all the questions in all the exercises, but do try to do at least some of each).