Predicate Logic and Popular Culture (Part 39): Taylor Swift

When teaching discrete mathematics, I’ll use today’s simple example to begin the section of propositional and predicate logic… it never fails to make my students chuckle.

Let p be the proposition “We are getting back together.” Express the negation \lnot p in ordinary English.

I’ll use this example to illustrate that the negation is simply “We are not getting back together,” without any need for extra emphasis or amplification… unlike the incredibly catchy Taylor Swift song.

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Context: Part of a discrete mathematics course includes an introduction to predicate and propositional logic for our math majors. As you can probably guess from their names, students tend to think these concepts are dry and uninteresting even though they’re very important for their development as math majors.

In an effort to making these topics more appealing, I spent some time mining the depths of popular culture in a (likely futile) attempt to make these ideas more interesting to my students. In this series, I’d like to share what I found. Naturally, the sources that I found have varying levels of complexity, which is appropriate for students who are first learning prepositional and predicate logic.

When I actually presented these in class, I either presented the logical statement and had my class guess the statement in actual English, or I gave my students the famous quote and them translate it into predicate logic. However, for the purposes of this series, I’ll just present the statement in predicate logic first.

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  1. Predicate Logic and Popular Culture: Index | Mean Green Math

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