In mathematical logic, a propositional calculus or logic (also called sentential calculus) is a formal system in which formulas of a formal language may be interpreted as representing propositions. A system of inference rules and axioms allows certain formulas to be derived, called theorems; which may be interpreted as true propositions. The series of formulas which is constructed within such a system is called a derivation and the last formula of the series is a theorem, whose derivation may be interpreted as a proof of the truth of the proposition represented by the theorem.
Truthfunctional propositional logic is a propositional logic whose interpretation limits the truth values of its propositions to two, usually true and false. Truthfunctional propositional logic and systems isomorphic to it are considered to be zeroth order logic.
In general terms, a calculus is a formal system that consists of a set of syntactic expressions (wellformed formulæ or wffs), a distinguished subset of these expressions (axioms), plus a set of formal rules that define a specific binary relation, intended to be interpreted as logical equivalence, on the space of expressions.
When the formal system is intended to be a logical system, the expressions are meant to be interpreted as statements, and the rules, known as inference rules, are typically intended to be truthpreserving. In this setting, the rules (which may include axioms) can then be used to derive ("infer") formulæ representing true statements from given formulæ representing true statements.
The set of axioms may be empty, a nonempty finite set, a countably infinite set, or be given by axiom schemata. A formal grammar recursively defines the expressions and wellformed formulæ (wffs) of the language. In addition a semantics may be given which defines truth and valuations (or interpretations).
The language of a propositional calculus consists of
A wellformed formula (wff) is any atomic formula or any formula that can be built up from atomic formulæ by means of operator symbols according to the rules of the grammar.
We sometimes distinguish between propositional constants, propositional variables, and schemata. Propositional constants represent some particular proposition, while propositional variables range over the set of all atomic propositions. Schema, however, range over all propositions. It is common to represent propositional constants by A, B, and C, propositional variables by P, Q, and R, and schematic letters are often Greek letters, most often , ψ, and χ.
The following outlines a standard propositional calculus. Many different formulations exist which are all more or less equivalent but differ in the details of
We may represent any given proposition with a letter which we call a propositional constant, analogous to representing a number by a letter in mathematics, for instance, a = 5. We require that all propositions have exactly one of two truthvalues: true or false. To take an example, let P be the proposition that it is raining outside. This will be true if it is raining outside and false otherwise.
It is extremely helpful to look at the truth tables for these different operators, as well as the method of analytic tableaux.
Propositional logic is closed under truthfunctional connectives. That is to say, for any proposition , is also a proposition. Likewise, for any propositions and , is a proposition, and similarly for disjunction, conditional, and biconditional. This implies that, for instance, is a proposition, and so it can be conjoined with another proposition. In order to represent this, we need to use parentheses to indicate which proposition is conjoined with which. For instance, is not a wellformed formula, because we do not know if we are conjoining with R or if we are conjoining P with . Thus we must write either to represent the former, or to represent the latter. By evaluating the truth conditions, we see that both expressions have the same truth conditions (will be true in the same cases), and moreover that any proposition formed by arbitrary conjunctions will have the same truth conditions, regardless of the location of the parentheses. This means that conjunction is associative, however, one should not assume that parentheses never serve a purpose. For instance, the sentence does not have the same truth conditions as , so they are different sentences distinguished only by the parentheses. One can verify this by the truthtable method referenced above.
Note: For any arbitrary number of propositional constants, we can form a finite number of cases which list their possible truthvalues. A simple way to generate this is by truthtables, in which one writes P, Q, …, Z for any list of k propositional constants—that is to say, any list of propositional constants with k entries. Below this list, one writes 2^{k} rows, and below P one fills in the first half of the rows with true (or T) and the second half with false (or F). Below Q one fills in onequarter of the rows with T, then onequarter with F, then onequarter with T and the last quarter with F. The next column alternates between true and false for each eighth of the rows, then sixteenths, and so on, until the last propositional constant varies between T and F for each row. This will give a complete listing of cases or truthvalue assignments possible for those propositional constants.
The propositional calculus then defines an argument as a set of propositions. A valid argument is a set of propositions, the last of which follows from—or is implied by—the rest. All other arguments are invalid. The simplest valid argument is modus ponens, one instance of which is the following set of propositions:
This is a set of three propositions, each line is a proposition, and the last follows from the rest. The first two lines are called premises, and the last line the conclusion. We say that any proposition C follows from any set of propositions (P_{1},...,P_{n}), if C must be true whenever every member of the set (P_{1},...,P_{n}) is true. In the argument above, for any P and Q, whenever and P are true, necessarily Q is true. Notice that, when P is true, we cannot consider cases 3 and 4. When is true, we cannot consider case 2. This leaves only case 1, in which Q is also true. Thus Q is implied by the premises.
This generalizes schematically. Thus, where and ψ may be any propositions at all,
Other argument forms are convenient, but not necessary. Given a complete set of axioms (see below for one such set), modus ponens is sufficient to prove all other argument forms in propositional logic, and so we may think of them as derivative. Note, this is not true of the extension of propositional logic to other logics like firstorder logic. Firstorder logic requires at least one additional rule of inference in order to obtain completeness.
The significance of argument in formal logic is that one may obtain new truths from established truths. In the first example above, given the two premises, the truth of Q is not yet known or stated. After the argument is made, Q is deduced. In this way, we define a deduction system as a set of all propositions that may be deduced from another set of propositions. For instance, given the set of propositions , we can define a deduction system, Γ, which is the set of all propositions which follow from A. Reiteration is always assumed, so . Also, from the first element of A, last element, as well as modus ponens, R is a consequence, and so . Because we have not included sufficiently complete axioms, though, nothing else may be deduced. Thus, even though most deduction systems studied in propositional logic are able to deduce , this one is too weak to prove such a proposition.
A propositional calculus is a formal system , where:
The language of , also known as its set of formulæ, wellformed formulas or wffs, is inductively or recursively defined by the following rules:
Repeated applications of these rules permits the construction of complex formulæ. For example:
Let , where Α, Ω, Ζ, Ι are defined as follows:
Let , where Α, Ω, Ζ, Ι are defined as follows:
In the following example of a propositional calculus, the transformation rules are intended to be interpreted as the inference rules of a socalled natural deduction system. The particular system presented here has no initial points, which means that its interpretation for logical applications derives its theorems from an empty axiom set.
Our propositional calculus has ten inference rules. These rules allow us to derive other true formulae given a set of formulae that are assumed to be true. The first nine simply state that we can infer certain wffs from other wffs. The last rule however uses hypothetical reasoning in the sense that in the premise of the rule we temporarily assume an (unproven) hypothesis to be part of the set of inferred formulae to see if we can infer a certain other formula. Since the first nine rules don't do this they are usually described as nonhypothetical rules, and the last one as a hypothetical rule.
Basic and Derived Argument Forms  

Name  Sequent  Description 
Modus Ponens  If p then q; p; therefore q  
Modus Tollens  If p then q; not q; therefore not p  
Hypothetical Syllogism  If p then q; if q then r; therefore, if p then r  
Disjunctive Syllogism  Either p or q, or both; not p; therefore, q  
Constructive Dilemma  If p then q; and if r then s; but p or r; therefore q or s  
Destructive Dilemma  If p then q; and if r then s; but not q or not s; therefore not p or not r  
Bidirectional Dilemma  If p then q; and if r then s; but p or not s; therefore q or not r  
Simplification  p and q are true; therefore p is true  
Conjunction  p and q are true separately; therefore they are true conjointly  
Addition  p is true; therefore the disjunction (p or q) is true  
Composition  If p then q; and if p then r; therefore if p is true then q and r are true  
De Morgan's Theorem (1)  The negation of (p and q) is equiv. to (not p or not q)  
De Morgan's Theorem (2)  The negation of (p or q) is equiv. to (not p and not q)  
Commutation (1)  (p or q) is equiv. to (q or p)  
Commutation (2)  (p and q) is equiv. to (q and p)  
Commutation (3)  (p is equiv. to q) is equiv. to (q is equiv. to p)  
Association (1)  p or (q or r) is equiv. to (p or q) or r  
Association (2)  p and (q and r) is equiv. to (p and q) and r  
Distribution (1)  p and (q or r) is equiv. to (p and q) or (p and r)  
Distribution (2)  p or (q and r) is equiv. to (p or q) and (p or r)  
Double Negation  p is equivalent to the negation of not p  
Transposition  If p then q is equiv. to if not q then not p  
Material Implication  If p then q is equiv. to not p or q  
Material Equivalence (1)  (p is equiv. to q) means (if p is true then q is true) and (if q is true then p is true)  
Material Equivalence (2)  (p is equiv. to q) means either (p and q are true) or (both p and q are false)  
Material Equivalence (3)  (p is equiv. to q) means, both (p or not q is true) and (not p or q is true)  
Exportation^{[1]}  from (if p and q are true then r is true) we can prove (if q is true then r is true, if p is true)  
Importation  
Tautology (1)  p is true is equiv. to p is true or p is true  
Tautology (2)  p is true is equiv. to p is true and p is true  
Tertium non datur (Law of Excluded Middle)  p or not p is true  
Law of NonContradiction  p and not p is false, is a true statement 
One of the main uses of a propositional calculus, when interpreted for logical applications, is to determine relations of logical equivalence between propositional formulæ. These relationships are determined by means of the available transformation rules, sequences of which are called derivations or proofs.
In the discussion to follow, a proof is presented as a sequence of numbered lines, with each line consisting of a single formula followed by a reason or justification for introducing that formula. Each premise of the argument, that is, an assumption introduced as an hypothesis of the argument, is listed at the beginning of the sequence and is marked as a "premise" in lieu of other justification. The conclusion is listed on the last line. A proof is complete if every line follows from the previous ones by the correct application of a transformation rule. (For a contrasting approach, see prooftrees).
Example of a Proof  

Number  Formula  Reason 
1  premise  
2  From (1) by disjunction introduction  
3  From (1) and (2) by conjunction introduction  
4  From (3) by conjunction elimination  
5  Summary of (1) through (4)  
6  From (5) by conditional proof 
Interpret as "Assuming A, infer A". Read as "Assuming nothing, infer that A implies A", or "It is a tautology that A implies A", or "It is always true that A implies A".
The crucial properties of this set of rules are that they are sound and complete. Informally this means that the rules are correct and that no other rules are required. These claims can be made more formal as follows.
We define a truth assignment as a function that maps propositional variables to true or false. Informally such a truth assignment can be understood as the description of a possible state of affairs (or possible world) where certain statements are true and others are not. The semantics of formulae can then be formalized by defining for which "state of affairs" they are considered to be true, which is what is done by the following definition.
We define when such a truth assignment A satisfies a certain wff with the following rules:
With this definition we can now formalize what it means for a formula to be implied by a certain set S of formulae. Informally this is true if in all worlds that are possible given the set of formulae S the formula also holds. This leads to the following formal definition: We say that a set S of wffs semantically entails (or implies) a certain wff if all truth assignments that satisfy all the formulae in S also satisfy .
Finally we define syntactical entailment such that is syntactically entailed by S if and only if we can derive it with the inference rules that were presented above in a finite number of steps. This allows us to formulate exactly what it means for the set of inference rules to be sound and complete:
For the above set of rules this is indeed the case.
(For most logical systems, this is the comparatively "simple" direction of proof)
Notational conventions: Let G be a variable ranging over sets of sentences. Let A, B, and C range over sentences. For "G syntactically entails A" we write "G proves A". For "G semantically entails A" we write "G implies A".
We want to show: (A)(G)(if G proves A, then G implies A).
We note that "G proves A" has an inductive definition, and that gives us the immediate resources for demonstrating claims of the form "If G proves A, then ...". So our proof proceeds by induction.
Notice that Basis Step II can be omitted for natural deduction systems because they have no axioms. When used, Step II involves showing that each of the axioms is a (semantic) logical truth.
The Basis step(s) demonstrate(s) that the simplest provable sentences from G are also implied by G, for any G. (The is simple, since the semantic fact that a set implies any of its members, is also trivial.) The Inductive step will systematically cover all the further sentences that might be provable—by considering each case where we might reach a logical conclusion using an inference rule—and shows that if a new sentence is provable, it is also logically implied. (For example, we might have a rule telling us that from "A" we can derive "A or B". In III.a We assume that if A is provable it is implied. We also know that if A is provable then "A or B" is provable. We have to show that then "A or B" too is implied. We do so by appeal to the semantic definition and the assumption we just made. A is provable from G, we assume. So it is also implied by G. So any semantic valuation making all of G true makes A true. But any valuation making A true makes "A or B" true, by the defined semantics for "or". So any valuation which makes all of G true makes "A or B" true. So "A or B" is implied.) Generally, the Inductive step will consist of a lengthy but simple casebycase analysis of all the rules of inference, showing that each "preserves" semantic implication.
By the definition of provability, there are no sentences provable other than by being a member of G, an axiom, or following by a rule; so if all of those are semantically implied, the deduction calculus is sound.
(This is usually the much harder direction of proof.)
We adopt the same notational conventions as above.
We want to show: If G implies A, then G proves A. We proceed by contraposition: We show instead that If G does not prove A then G does not imply A.
If a formula is a tautology, then there is a truth table for it which shows that each valuation yields the value true for the formula. Consider such a valuation. By mathematical induction on the length of the subformulae, show that the truth or falsity of the subformula follows from the truth or falsity (as appropriate for the valuation) of each propositional variable in the subformula. Then combine the lines of the truth table together two at a time by using "(P is true implies S) implies ((P is false implies S) implies S)". Keep repeating this until all dependencies on propositional variables have been eliminated. The result is that we have proved the given tautology. Since every tautology is provable, the logic is complete.
An interpretation of a truthfunctional propositional calculus is an assignment to each propositional symbol of of one or the other (but not both) of the truth values truth (T) and falsity (F), and an assignment to the connective symbols of of their usual truthfunctional meanings. An interpretation of a truthfunctional propositional calculus may also be expressed in terms of truth tables.^{[2]}
For n distinct propositional symbols there are 2^{n} distinct possible interpretations. For any particular symbol a, for example, there are 2^{1} = 2 possible interpretations:
For the pair a, b there are 2^{2} = 4 possible interpretations:
Since has , that is, denumerably many propositional symbols, there are , and therefore uncountably many distinct possible interpretations of .^{[2]}
If and ψ are formulas of and is an interpretation of then:
Some consequences of these definitions:
It is possible to define another version of propositional calculus, which defines most of the syntax of the logical operators by means of axioms, and which uses only one inference rule.
Let , χ and ψ stand for wellformed formulæ. (The wffs themselves would not contain any Greek letters, but only capital Roman letters, connective operators, and parentheses.) Then the axioms are as follows:
Axioms  

Name  Axiom Schema  Description 
THEN1  Add hypothesis χ, implication introduction  
THEN2  Distribute hypothesis over implication  
AND1  Eliminate conjunction  
AND2  
AND3  Introduce conjunction  
OR1  Introduce disjunction  
OR2  
OR3  (  Eliminate disjunction 
NOT1  (  Introduce negation 
NOT2  Eliminate negation  
NOT3  Excluded middle, classical logic  
IFF1  (  Eliminate equivalence 
IFF2  (  
IFF3  (  Introduce equivalence 
Axiom THEN2 may be considered to be a "distributive property of implication with respect to implication."
Axioms AND1 and AND2 correspond to "conjunction elimination". The relation between AND1 and AND2 reflects the commutativity of the conjunction operator.
Axiom AND3 corresponds to "conjunction introduction."
Axioms OR1 and OR2 correspond to "disjunction introduction." The relation between OR1 and OR2 reflects the commutativity of the disjunction operator.
Axiom NOT1 corresponds to "reductio ad absurdum."
Axiom NOT2 says that "anything can be deduced from a contradiction."
Axiom NOT3 is called "tertium non datur" (Latin: "a third is not given") and reflects the semantic valuation of propositional formulae: a formula can have a truthvalue of either true or false. There is no third truthvalue, at least not in classical logic. Intuitionistic logicians do not accept the axiom NOT3.
The inference rule is modus ponens:
Let a demonstration be represented by a sequence, with hypotheses to the left of the turnstile and the conclusion to the right of the turnstile. Then the deduction theorem can be stated as follows:
This deduction theorem (DT) is not itself formulated with propositional calculus: it is not a theorem of propositional calculus, but a theorem about propositional calculus. In this sense, it is a metatheorem, comparable to theorems about the soundness or completeness of propositional calculus.
On the other hand, DT is so useful for simplifying the syntactical proof process that it can be considered and used as another inference rule, accompanying modus ponens. In this sense, DT corresponds to the natural conditional proof inference rule which is part of the first version of propositional calculus introduced in this article.
The converse of DT is also valid:
in fact, the validity of the converse of DT is almost trivial compared to that of DT:
The converse of DT has powerful implications: it can be used to convert an axiom into an inference rule. For example, the axiom AND1,
can be transformed by means of the converse of the deduction theorem into the inference rule
which is conjunction elimination, one of the ten inference rules used in the first version (in this article) of the propositional calculus.
The following is an example of a (syntactical) demonstration, involving only axioms THEN1 and THEN2:
Prove: (Reflexivity of implication).
Proof:
The preceding alternative calculus is an example of a Hilbertstyle deduction system. In the case of propositional systems the axioms are terms built with logical connectives and the only inference rule is modus ponens. Equational logic as standardly used informally in high school algebra is a different kind of calculus from Hilbert systems. Its theorems are equations and its inference rules express the properties of equality, namely that it is a congruence on terms that admits substitution.
Classical propositional calculus as described above is equivalent to Boolean algebra, while intuitionistic propositional calculus is equivalent to Heyting algebra. The equivalence is shown by translation in each direction of the theorems of the respective systems. Theorems of classical or intuitionistic propositional calculus are translated as equations of Boolean or Heyting algebra respectively. Conversely theorems x = y of Boolean or Heyting algebra are translated as theorems of classical or propositional calculus respectively, for which is a standard abbreviation. In the case of Boolean algebra x = y can also be translated as , but this translation is incorrect intuitionistically.
In both Boolean and Heyting algebra, inequality can be used in place of equality. The equality x = y is expressible as a pair of inequalities and . Conversely the inequality is expressible as the equality , or as . The significance of inequality for Hilbertstyle systems is that it corresponds to the latter's deduction or entailment symbol . An entailment
is translated in the inequality version of the algebraic framework as
Conversely the algebraic inequality is translated as the entailment
The difference between implication and inequality or entailment or is that the former is internal to the logic while the latter is external. Internal implication between two terms is another term of the same kind. Entailment as external implication between two terms expresses a metatruth outside the language of the logic, and is considered part of the metalanguage. Even when the logic under study is intuitionistic, entailment is ordinarily understood classically as twovalued: either the left side entails, or is lessorequal to, the right side, or it is not.
Similar but more complex translations to and from algebraic logics are possible for natural deduction systems as described above and for the sequent calculus. The entailments of the latter can be interpreted as twovalued, but a more insightful interpretation is as a set, the elements of which can be understood as abstract proofs organized as the morphisms of a category. In this interpretation the cut rule of the sequent calculus corresponds to composition in the category. Boolean and Heyting algebras enter this picture as special categories having at most one morphism per homset, i.e. one proof per entailment, corresponding to the idea that existence of proofs is all that matters: any proof will do and there is no point in distinguishing them.
It is possible to generalize the definition of a formal language from a set of finite sequences over a finite basis to include many other sets of mathematical structures, so long as they are built up by finitary means from finite materials. What's more, many of these families of formal structures are especially wellsuited for use in logic.
For example, there are many families of graphs that are close enough analogues of formal languages that the concept of a calculus is quite easily and naturally extended to them. Indeed, many species of graphs arise as parse graphs in the syntactic analysis of the corresponding families of text structures. The exigencies of practical computation on formal languages frequently demand that text strings be converted into pointer structure renditions of parse graphs, simply as a matter of checking whether strings are wffs or not. Once this is done, there are many advantages to be gained from developing the graphical analogue of the calculus on strings. The mapping from strings to parse graphs is called parsing and the inverse mapping from parse graphs to strings is achieved by an operation that is called traversing the graph.
Propositional calculus is about the simplest kind of logical calculus in any current use. (Aristotelian "syllogistic" calculus, which is largely supplanted in modern logic, is in some ways simpler — but in other ways more complex — than propositional calculus.) It can be extended in several ways.
The most immediate way to develop a more complex logical calculus is to introduce rules that are sensitive to more finegrained details of the sentences being used. When the "atomic sentences" of propositional logic are broken up into terms, variables, predicates, and quantifiers, they yield firstorder logic, or firstorder predicate logic, which keeps all the rules of propositional logic and adds some new ones. (For example, from "All dogs are mammals" we may infer "If Rover is a dog then Rover is a mammal".) It makes sense to refer to propositional logic as "zerothorder logic", when comparing it with firstorder logic and secondorder logic.
With the tools of firstorder logic it is possible to formulate a number of theories, either with explicit axioms or by rules of inference, that can themselves be treated as logical calculi. Arithmetic is the best known of these; others include set theory and mereology.
Modal logic also offers a variety of inferences that cannot be captured in propositional calculus. For example, from "Necessarily p" we may infer that p. From p we may infer "It is possible that p". The translation between modal logics and algebraic logics is as for classical and intuitionistic logics but with the introduction of a unary operator on Boolean or Heyting algebras, different from the Boolean operations, interpreting the possibility modality, and in the case of Heyting algebra a second operator interpreting necessity (for Boolean algebra this is redundant since necessity is the De Morgan dual of possibility). The first operator preserves 0 and disjunction while the second preserves 1 and conjunction.
Manyvalued logics are those allowing sentences to have values other than true and false. (For example, neither and both are standard "extra values"; "continuum logic" allows each sentence to have any of an infinite number of "degrees of truth" between true and false.) These logics often require calculational devices quite distinct from propositional calculus. When the values form a Boolean algebra (which may have more than two or even infinitely many values), manyvalued logic reduces to classical logic; manyvalued logics are therefore only of independent interest when the values form an algebra that is not Boolean.
Finding solutions to propositional logic formulas is an NPcomplete problem. However, practical methods exist (e.g. DPLL algorithm, 1962; Chaff algorithm, 2001) that are very fast for many useful cases. Recent work has extended the SAT solver algorithms to work with propositions containing arithmetic expressions; these are the SMT solvers.


Propositional logic is a formal system in mathematics and logic. Other names for the system are propositional caclulus and sentential calculus. The system is made of a set of propositions. Each proposition has a truth value, it is either true or false. Propositions can be joined together using logical connectives to make new propositions. Examples for logical connectives that are used often are logical and, logical or, logical if, logical if and only if and logical not.
Propositional logic only looks at the propositions and how they are connected, it does not decompose the propositions. That way, the proposition All cats are dogs and the earth is a disc is made of two propositions, All cats are dogs, The Earth is a disc. These are joined together with AND.
There are other logic systems that build on propositional logic. One of these is Predicate logic, which defines logical predicates, and looks at how they can be applied to arguments. Another system is called modal logic. It introduces two new junctors it is possible, that and it is necessary, that.
