Logical connective

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In logic, a logical connective (also called a logical operator) is a symbol or word used to connect two or more sentences (of either a formal or a natural language) in a grammatically valid way, such that the compound sentence produced has a truth value dependent on the respective truth values of the original sentences.

Each logical connective can be expressed as a function, called a truth function. For this reason, logical connectives are sometimes called truth-functional connectives. The most common logical connectives are binary connectives (also called dyadic connectives) which join two sentences whose truth values can be thought of as the function's operands. Also commonly, negation is considered to be a unary connective.

Logical connectives along with quantifiers are the two main types of logical constants used in formal systems such as propositional logic and predicate logic.

Contents

In language

Natural language

In the grammar of natural languages two sentences may be joined by a grammatical conjunction to form a grammatically compound sentence. Some but not all such grammatical conjunctions are truth functions. For example, consider the following sentences:

The words and and so are grammatical conjunctions joining the sentences (A) and (B) to form the compound sentences (C) and (D). The and in (C) is a logical connective, since the truth of (C) is completely determined by (A) and (B): it would make no sense to affirm (A) and (B) but deny (C). However so in (D) is not a logical connective, since it would be quite reasonable to affirm (A) and (B) but deny (D): perhaps, after all, Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, not because Jack had gone up the Hill at all.

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