[FOM] Why inclusive disjunction?

Richard Heck rgheck at brown.edu
Wed Jan 10 10:26:48 EST 2007

So if the law says that I may not smoke pot or run around naked on
Boston Common, it's OK if I smoke pot AND run around naked on Boston Common?

Seriously, I don't know what the history behind this choice is. I know
the controversy exists already with Boole, and I think the choice was
made largely on grounds of simplicity and elegance. Inclusive or
certainly is far simpler to work with. It's associative, for one thing,
and it has simple and elegant introduction and elimination rules. Are
there introduction and elimination rules for exclusive or that don't
involve other connectives?


John Baldwin wrote:
> I am preparing to teach a course in `proof'.
> Can anyone provide a principled reason for why logicians choose to
>   interpret "or" as inclusive disjunction?
> I understand that in the interpretations of statutes, the exclusive or
> is the default.  So attorney's have made a different choice of 
> `formalization'.
> John T. Baldwin
> Director, Office of Mathematics Education
> Department of Mathematics, Statistics, 
> and Computer Science  M/C 249
> jbaldwin at uic.edu
> 312-413-2149
> Room 327 Science and Engineering Offices (SEO)
> 851 S. Morgan
> Chicago, IL 60607
> Assistant to the director
> Jan Nekola: 312-413-3750
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Richard G Heck, Jr
Professor of Philosophy
Brown University
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