Truth table

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A truth table is a mathematical table used in logic—specifically in connection with Boolean algebra, boolean functions, and propositional calculus—to compute the functional values of logical expressions on each of their functional arguments, that is, on each combination of values taken by their logical variables (Enderton, 2001). In particular, truth tables can be used to tell whether a propositional expression is true for all legitimate input values, that is, logically valid.

Practically, a truth table is composed of one column for each input variable (for example, A and B), and one final column for all of the possible results of the logical operation that the table is meant to represent (for example, A XOR B). Each row of the truth table therefore contains one possible configuration of the input variables (for instance, A=true B=false), and the result of the operation for those values. See the examples below for further clarification. Ludwig Wittgenstein is often credited with their invention in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.[1]

Unary operations[edit]

Logical identity[edit]

Logical identity is an operation on one logical value, typically the value of a proposition, that produces a value of true if its operand is true and a value of false if its operand is false.

The truth table for the logical identity operator is as follows:

Logical Identity
pp
OperandValue
TT
FF

Logical negation[edit]

Logical negation is an operation on one logical value, typically the value of a proposition, that produces a value of true if its operand is false and a value of false if its operand is true.

The truth table for NOT p (also written as ¬p, Np, Fpq, or ~p) is as follows:

Logical Negation
p¬p
TF
FT

Binary operations[edit]

Truth table for all binary logical operators[edit]

Here is a truth table giving definitions of all 16 of the possible truth functions of two binary variables (P and Q are thus boolean variables; for details about the operators see below):

PQ F0  NOR1  Xq2  ¬p3  4  ¬q5  XOR6  NAND7  AND8  XNOR9 q10if/then11p12then/if13OR14T15
TTFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTT
TFFFFFTTTTFFFFTTTT
FTFFTTFFTTFFTTFFTT
FFFTFTFTFTFTFTFTFT
Com
L idFFTTTFTF
R idFFTTTFTF

where T = true and F = false. The Com row indicates whether an operator, op, is commutative - P op Q = Q op P. The L id row shows the operator's left identity if it has one - a value I such that I op Q = Q. The R id row shows the operator's right identity if it has one - a value I such that P op I = P.

Key:

Operation name
0OpqFfalseContradiction
1XpqNORLogical NOR
2MpqXqConverse nonimplication
3FpqNp¬pNegation
4LpqXpMaterial nonimplication
5GpqNq¬qNegation
6JpqXORExclusive disjunction
7DpqNANDLogical NAND
8KpqANDLogical conjunction
9EpqXNORIf and only ifLogical biconditional
10HpqqProjection function
11CpqXNpif/thenMaterial implication
12IpqpProjection function
13BpqXNqthen/ifConverse implication
14ApqORLogical disjunction
15VpqTtrueTautology

Logical operators can also be visualized using Venn diagrams.

Logical conjunction[edit]

Logical conjunction is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of true if both of its operands are true.

The truth table for p AND q (also written as p ∧ q, Kpq, p & q, or p \cdot q) is as follows:

Logical Conjunction
pqpq
TTT
TFF
FTF
FFF

In ordinary language terms, if both p and q are true, then the conjunction pq is true. For all other assignments of logical values to p and to q the conjunction p ∧ q is false.

It can also be said that if p, then pq is q, otherwise pq is p.

Logical disjunction[edit]

Logical disjunction is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of true if at least one of its operands is true.

The truth table for p OR q (also written as p ∨ q, Apq, p || q, or p + q) is as follows:

Logical Disjunction
pqpq
TTT
TFT
FTT
FFF

Stated in English, if p, then pq is p, otherwise pq is q.

Logical implication[edit]

Logical implication or the material conditional are both associated with an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of false just in the singular case the first operand is true and the second operand is false.

The truth table associated with the material conditional if p then q (symbolized as p → q) and the logical implication p implies q (symbolized as p ⇒ q, or Cpq) is as follows:

Logical Implication
pqpq
TTT
TFF
FTT
FFT

It may also be useful to note that p → q is equivalent to ¬p ∨ q.

Logical equality[edit]

Logical equality (also known as biconditional) is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of true if both operands are false or both operands are true.

The truth table for p XNOR q (also written as p ↔ q, Epq, p = q, or p ≡ q) is as follows:

Logical Equality
pqpq
TTT
TFF
FTF
FFT

So p EQ q is true if p and q have the same truth value (both true or both false), and false if they have different truth values.

Exclusive disjunction[edit]

Exclusive disjunction is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of true if one but not both of its operands is true.

The truth table for p XOR q (also written as p ⊕ q, Jpq, or p ≠ q) is as follows:

Exclusive Disjunction
pqpq
TTF
TFT
FTT
FFF

For two propositions, XOR can also be written as (p = 1 ∧ q = 0) ∨ (p = 0 ∧ q = 1).

Logical NAND[edit]

The logical NAND is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of false if both of its operands are true. In other words, it produces a value of true if at least one of its operands is false.

The truth table for p NAND q (also written as p ↑ q, Dpq, or p | q) is as follows:

Logical NAND
pqpq
TTF
TFT
FTT
FFT

It is frequently useful to express a logical operation as a compound operation, that is, as an operation that is built up or composed from other operations. Many such compositions are possible, depending on the operations that are taken as basic or "primitive" and the operations that are taken as composite or "derivative".

In the case of logical NAND, it is clearly expressible as a compound of NOT and AND.

The negation of a conjunction: ¬(p ∧ q), and the disjunction of negations: (¬p) ∨ (¬q) can be tabulated as follows:

pqp ∧ q¬(p ∧ q)¬p¬qp) ∨ (¬q)
TTTFFFF
TFFTFTT
FTFTTFT
FFFTTTT

Logical NOR[edit]

The logical NOR is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of true if both of its operands are false. In other words, it produces a value of false if at least one of its operands is true. ↓ is also known as the Peirce arrow after its inventor, Charles Sanders Peirce, and is a Sole sufficient operator.

The truth table for p NOR q (also written as p ↓ q, Xpq, or p ⊥ q) is as follows:

Logical NOR
pqpq
TTF
TFF
FTF
FFT

The negation of a disjunction ¬(p ∨ q), and the conjunction of negations (¬p) ∧ (¬q) can be tabulated as follows:

pqp ∨ q¬(p ∨ q)¬p¬qp) ∧ (¬q)
TTTFFFF
TFTFFTF
FTTFTFF
FFFTTTT

Inspection of the tabular derivations for NAND and NOR, under each assignment of logical values to the functional arguments p and q, produces the identical patterns of functional values for ¬(p ∧ q) as for (¬p) ∨ (¬q), and for ¬(p ∨ q) as for (¬p) ∧ (¬q). Thus the first and second expressions in each pair are logically equivalent, and may be substituted for each other in all contexts that pertain solely to their logical values.

This equivalence is one of De Morgan's laws.

Applications[edit]

Truth tables can be used to prove many other logical equivalences. For example, consider the following truth table:

Logical Equivalence : (pq) = (¬pq)
pq¬p¬pqpq
TTFTT
TFFFF
FTTTT
FFTTT

This demonstrates the fact that pq is logically equivalent to ¬pq.

Truth table for most commonly used logical operators[edit]

Here is a truth table giving definitions of the most commonly used 6 of the 16 possible truth functions of 2 binary variables (P,Q are thus boolean variables):

P Q P \land QP \lor QP \underline{\lor} QP \underline{\land} QP \Rightarrow QP \Leftarrow QP \iff Q
TTTTFTTTT
TFFTTFFTF
FTFTTFTFF
FFFFFTTTT

Key:

T = true, F = false
\land = AND (logical conjunction)
\lor = OR (logical disjunction)
\underline{\lor} = XOR (exclusive or)
\underline{\land} = XNOR (exclusive nor)
\rightarrow = conditional "if-then"
\leftarrow = conditional "(then)-if"
\iff biconditional or "if-and-only-if" is logically equivalent to \underline{\and}: XNOR (exclusive nor).

Logical operators can also be visualized using Venn diagrams.

Condensed truth tables for binary operators[edit]

For binary operators, a condensed form of truth table is also used, where the row headings and the column headings specify the operands and the table cells specify the result. For example Boolean logic uses this condensed truth table notation:

FT
FFF
TFT
FT
FFT
TTT

This notation is useful especially if the operations are commutative, although one can additionally specify that the rows are the first operand and the columns are the second operand. This condensed notation is particularly useful in discussing multi-valued extensions of logic, as it significantly cuts down on combinatoric explosion of the number of rows otherwise needed. It also provides for quickly recognizable characteristic "shape" of the distribution of the values in the table which can assist the reader in grasping the rules more quickly.

Truth tables in digital logic[edit]

Truth tables are also used to specify the functionality of hardware look-up tables (LUTs) in digital logic circuitry. For an n-input LUT, the truth table will have 2^n values (or rows in the above tabular format), completely specifying a boolean function for the LUT. By representing each boolean value as a bit in a binary number, truth table values can be efficiently encoded as integer values in electronic design automation (EDA) software. For example, a 32-bit integer can encode the truth table for a LUT with up to 5 inputs.

When using an integer representation of a truth table, the output value of the LUT can be obtained by calculating a bit index k based on the input values of the LUT, in which case the LUT's output value is the kth bit of the integer. For example, to evaluate the output value of a LUT given an array of n boolean input values, the bit index of the truth table's output value can be computed as follows: if the ith input is true, let Vi = 1, else let Vi = 0. Then the kth bit of the binary representation of the truth table is the LUT's output value, where k = V0*2^0 + V1*2^1 + V2*2^2 + ... + Vn*2^n.

Truth tables are a simple and straightforward way to encode boolean functions, however given the exponential growth in size as the number of inputs increase, they are not suitable for functions with a large number of inputs. Other representations which are more memory efficient are text equations and binary decision diagrams.

Applications of truth tables in digital electronics[edit]

In digital electronics and computer science (fields of applied logic engineering and mathematics), truth tables can be used to reduce basic boolean operations to simple correlations of inputs to outputs, without the use of logic gates or code. For example, a binary addition can be represented with the truth table:

 A B | C R 1 1 | 1 0 1 0 | 0 1 0 1 | 0 1 0 0 | 0 0  where  A = First Operand B = Second Operand C = Carry R = Result 

This truth table is read left to right:

Note that this table does not describe the logic operations necessary to implement this operation, rather it simply specifies the function of inputs to output values.

With respect to the result, this example may be arithmetically viewed as modulo 2 binary addition, and as logically equivalent to the exclusive-or (exclusive disjunction) binary logic operation.

In this case it can be used for only very simple inputs and outputs, such as 1s and 0s. However, if the number of types of values one can have on the inputs increases, the size of the truth table will increase.

For instance, in an addition operation, one needs two operands, A and B. Each can have one of two values, zero or one. The number of combinations of these two values is 2×2, or four. So the result is four possible outputs of C and R. If one were to use base 3, the size would increase to 3×3, or nine possible outputs.

The first "addition" example above is called a half-adder. A full-adder is when the carry from the previous operation is provided as input to the next adder. Thus, a truth table of eight rows would be needed to describe a full adder's logic:

 A B C* | C R 0 0 0  | 0 0 0 1 0  | 0 1 1 0 0  | 0 1 1 1 0  | 1 0 0 0 1  | 0 1 0 1 1  | 1 0 1 0 1  | 1 0 1 1 1  | 1 1  Same as previous, but.. C* = Carry from previous adder 

History[edit]

Irving Anellis has done the research to show that C.S. Peirce appears to be the earliest logician (in 1893) to devise a truth table matrix. From the summary of his paper:

In 1997, John Shosky discovered, on the verso of a page of the typed transcript of Bertrand Russell’s 1912 lecture on “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism” truth table matrices. The matrix for negation is Russell’s, alongside of which is the matrix for material implication in the hand of Ludwig Wittgenstein. It is shown that an unpublished manuscript identified as composed by Peirce in 1893 includes a truth table matrix that is equivalent to the matrix for material implication discovered by John Shosky. An unpublished manuscript by Peirce identified as having been composed in 1883-84 in connection with the composition of Peirce’s “On the Algebra of Logic: A Contribution to the Philosophy of Notation” that appeared in the American Journal of Mathematics in 1885 includes an example of an indirect truth table for the conditional.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Georg Henrik von Wright (1955). "Ludwig Wittgenstein, A Biographical Sketch". The Philosophical Review 64 (4): 527–545 (p. 532, note 9). JSTOR 2182631. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]