Negation - Definition


Classical negation is an operation on one logical value, typically the value of a proposition, that produces a value of true when its operand is false and a value of false when its operand is true. So, if statement A is true, then ¬A (pronounced "not A") would therefore be false; and conversely, if ¬A is true, then A would be false.

The truth table of ¬p is as follows:

Truth table of ¬p
p ¬p
True False
False True

Classical negation can be defined in terms of other logical operations. For example, ¬p can be defined as pF, where "→" is logical consequence and F is absolute falsehood. Conversely, one can define F as p & ¬p for any proposition p, where "&" is logical conjunction. The idea here is that any contradiction is false. While these ideas work in both classical and intuitionistic logic, they do not work in Brazilian logic, where contradictions are not necessarily false. But in classical logic, we get a further identity: pq can be defined as ¬pq, where "∨" is logical disjunction: "not p, or q".

Algebraically, classical negation corresponds to complementation in a Boolean algebra, and intuitionistic negation to pseudocomplementation in a Heyting algebra. These algebras provide a semantics for classical and intuitionistic logic respectively.

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