# Day 3. Wednesday May 23, Learn the basic building blocks of proofs (specifically, direct proofs)

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1 Day 3 Wednesday May 23, 2012 Objectives: Learn the basics of Propositional Logic Learn the basic building blocks of proofs (specifically, direct proofs) 1 Propositional Logic Today we introduce the concepts of propositional logic. We do this because a basic understanding of propositional logic is essential to understanding how a mathematical statement is formed and proved. 1.1 Atoms We begin with the discussion of an atom. Note that the etymology of the word atom is Greek, for something that can not be further divided. In physics and chemistry, atomic is the word to describe the basic unit of matter. Keep this in mind for our mathematical discussion. Definition 1. An atom is something which is either true of false and whose truth can be checked independently from other statements. Atoms are the basic unit of mathematics. Let s do some examples. Example 1. The following are some atoms: The sun is up. 2 < = 4 The chair is purple. Definition 2. An atomic variable is a variable which stands in place for an atomic statement. That is, atomic variables are variables which can either be true or false. Definition 3. We also have two special atoms: and. These stand for true and false respectively. Definition 4. A statement is something which is either true or false. Therefore, all atoms are statements, but statements incldue things which are not atoms. A connective is an operation which can join together statements to make a new statement. 1.2 Connectives In classical mathematics, there are four connectives. 1

2 1.2.1 And And is a connective which acts on two statements, and is true when both of the statement it joins are true. These statements are also called conjunctions Example 2. It is sunny outside and it is not raining this is a statement which is (hopefully) true right now! (3 > 2) and (10 < 4) this is a statement that is false. Why? In a formal context, we use the symbol to stand for and. Example 3. In the above example, we could have written (3 > 2) (10 < 4) Remark 1. A way to remember this is and is because looks like the letter A! Not Not is a connective which acts on only one statement. It is true exactly when the statement it acts on is false. These statements are also called negations Example 4. It is not raining outside this statement is hopefully true, since we want the statement It is raining outside to be false. Not 2 > 3 this statement is true, since 2 > 3 is a false statement. Not( (2 < 6) (2 > 3) ) is this statement true or false? In a formal context we use the symbol to stand for not. Example 5. In the above example, we could have written Or (2 > 3) Or is a connective which acts on two statements, and is true when either one or both of the statements it joins are true. This statements are also called disjunctions Example 6. They lights are on in this room or the lights are off in this room. This is a true statement, because the lights are on in this room! We are having fun or we are doing math. This statement is true, because we are both having fun and doing math. It is either raining outside or not raining outside. This statement is true since it will always be the case that one of these statements is true. Remark 2. We see the first difficulty in proving Or statements. The last statement above is a true statement, but despite knowing that one of the two statements is true we have no idea which! Therefore, or statements are almost exclusively non-constructive in nature; that is, we can know an or statement is true without being able to construct exactly which of the two things it joins are true. Example 7. Let x be a real number. Then we can see the following statement is true: (x > 2) or (x < 5) But, until we know the value of x, we don t know which of the two statements are true! In a formal context we use the symbol to stand for or. Example 8. In the above example, we could have written (x > 2) (x < 5) 2

3 1.2.4 Implies Implies is an interesting connective which acts on two statements. It is true if one can assume that the first statement is true and prove that the second is true. These statements are also called implications Remark 3. Implies is very interesting. First off it is the first asymmetric connective. What do you suppose that means? Well, it smeans A implies B is a completely different statement than B implies A. Secondly, it is essentially defined in terms of proofs. We ll see a lot of examples to make this sense and pragmatic, but let s first do some examples to gain some intuition. If it is raining, then the ground is wet or It is raining imlies the ground is wet. This statement is true. You suppose it was raining, so we live in a unvervise where rain is falling from the sky. In that universe, the ground would be wet! If I m hot then it is sunny. This statement is false. How would you show it? Well, you just consider a universe where you are hot but it isn t sunny. Maybe you re standing next to a fire, or wearing too many layers. Or maybe it s just a hot, cloudy summer day. If x > 0 then x > 1 Suppose that you lived in a universe where the first statement were true. Then x would be larger than 0. 0 itself is larger than 1, so x must be larger than 1. As you can maybe see, implications are tricky business. But, they re the most useful type of statements in mathematics. In fact, without implications we can t ever state as much stuff as we d every want. In a formal context we use the symbol to stand for implies. Example 9. In the above example, we could have written (x > 0) (x > 1) Definition 5. If A B we say that A is sufficent for B, since knowing A suffices to know B. Therefore, if you imagine we really wanted to prove B, and we knew A B it would suffice to prove A. We say that B is neccessary for A, since A being true requires that B is true. 1.3 Proving Statements Now that we understand what a statement is, and what components make up a statement, our next logical question should be how do I prove a statement is true? Direct versus Indirect We ve already stated that or statements maybe be difficult to prove as one may not know which of the two statements it joins is true. This highlights an important distinction between direct proofs and indirect proofs. For now, we are only going to be talking about direct proofs. Later, we will talk about indirect proofs Contexts Now that we know the connectives. But, how can we prove anywhere without some assumptions? For example, is it true that x 2 0? Well, sort of, but we are assuming x is a real number! We have to have assumptions to prove things. Definition 6. A hypothesis is statement which we assume to be true. We often have many hypotheses during a proof. While writing a proof, the context is all of the hypotheses that you currently have. We are going to see that your context changes while writing the proof. But at any stage of the proof, there is a context. Therefore, the goal of a proof can be seen as getting a particular statement into our context! There s a lot of ways to do this. It s difficult to give a specific example without first talking about some particular proofs. 3

4 1.3.3 Proving Implications Directly The definition of what an implication is basically told us how to prove them. To prove an implication A B, you add A to your current context, and then try to prove B. Theorem 1. Let A be a statement. Then A A Proof. We are trying to prove the statement A A. Therefore, we add A to our present context (ie. we assume A is true) and we then try to prove A. At this stage, we have A in our context, which means we are assuming A is true. We are trying to prove A is true. Therefore, we re done! Proving Conjections Directly To prove a conjunction, like A B you must prove A and you must prove B Proving Disjunction Directly To prove a disjunction, like A B directly you must prove A or you must prove B. Remark 4. Remember, this is often impossible, as in It is raining or it is not raining Proving Negations Directly In order to prove a negation, like A you add A to your current context, and then prove any statement and its negation (ie. a contradiction) Remark 5. This is, ostensibly, a tricky thing. But, it makes sense. To prove A, you really want to assume A and get a contradiction. This would tell you that there s no possible way to find a unvierse where A is true! Lots of Examples! A A Proof. A direct proof of A A relies on first assuming A and then proving A. But, if we assume A is true, then we immediately have A is true! A (A B) Proof. As before, we are trying to prove an implication. So, to prove it directly, we assume A and seek to prove A B. To prove A B we want to either prove A or B. But we know A is true as it is in our current context. Thus, we have A B. A (B (A B)) Proof. We are trying to prove an implication. Thus we add A to our current context, and seek to prove B (A B). This is also an implication. So we add B to our context. Thus our context contains A and B, and we want to prove A B. But, we are assuming A and B, thus we have A B, which is what we want! 1.4 Using Hypotheses So far, the only hypotheses that we ve been using are atoms. But, how do we use the hypothesis that A B, or A B. 4

7 Example 16. (A (B A)) (B A) Proof. Since we are proving an implication, I assume A (B A) and Try to prove B A. This is an implication, so I assume B and try to prove A. My current context is A (B A) and B. so I do cases based on the first. If I have A, then I have proved A, which is what I wanted. Otherwise, I have B A. B is also in my context, so I have A, which is what I wanted. 1.7 Bi-implication Definition 7. A bi-implication or equivalence is a statement that stays one statement exacltly when the other one is. If A and B are statements, we write A B for this. Remark 7. There s nothing special about proving a bi-implication. A B is short hand for: (A B) (B A) We will do more examples next time of this notion, on why it is useful. 7

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