# XOR or OR: Examining Everyday Logic

• jk22
In summary, the everyday or can mean either xor or the logical or, sometimes one and sometimes the other.
jk22
In logic a or b is true if both a and b are true but do you think the everyday or is in fact xor ?

In logic, a or b is true, if at least one among a and b is true.
The everyday or can mean either xor or the logical or, sometimes one and sometimes the other. The meaning is usually obvious from the context.

xor is usually NOT the everyday meaning of or.

mathman said:
xor is usually NOT the everyday meaning of or.
I disagree:
• you can have meat or fish for dinner
• I won't be back until Tuesday or Wednesday
• my bet for the winners of the World Cup is Germany or England
• are you going to vote for the liberal candidate or the conservative?
• this problem should take five or ten minutes
I can think of some everyday "inclusive or"s though:
• I am waiting for a number 14 or a number 52 bus
• the committee is quorate if there are three members present including the Chairman or Treasurer
Bored with this now...

MrAnchovy said:
I disagree:
• you can have meat or fish for dinner
• I won't be back until Tuesday or Wednesday
• my bet for the winners of the World Cup is Germany or England
• are you going to vote for the liberal candidate or the conservative?
• this problem should take five or ten minutes
I can think of some everyday "inclusive or"s though:
• I am waiting for a number 14 or a number 52 bus
• the committee is quorate if there are three members present including the Chairman or Treasurer
Bored with this now...
All of your examples are for things that are mutually exclusive. In those situations xor and or are identical.

mathman said:
All of your examples are for things that are mutually exclusive. In those situations xor and or are identical.
True for most of the first list, but (i) that merely illustrates the point that very often "or" in everyday speech is exclusive; and (ii) it is certainly possible to have both meat and fish for dinner, but this would not normally be the way "you can have meat or fish for dinner" is interpreted.

A: Is it 3:00pm or 4:00pm?
B: Yes.

This is an xor response and is almost never used (except by math types making jokes) in normal English speech. Most educated people impliclty get it, but think the responder is being difficult or pedantic, almost never funny. My personal experience only.

jim mcnamara said:

A: Is it 3:00pm or 4:00pm?
B: Yes.

This is an xor response and is almost never used (except by math types making jokes) in normal English speech. Most educated people impliclty get it, but think the responder is being difficult or pedantic, almost never funny. My personal experience only.

I don't understand what you mean by this. Are you contrasting xor with or? If yes, the answer "yes" doesn't depend on our interpretation of "or" here. The nature of time dictates that or and xor are equivalent in this example.
By now, MrAnchovy's examples should've cleared everything up, I think.

I think this is more of a philosophy or sociology question, not a Mathematics or Logic question ( in neither sense of the word 'or' ;) )

In common usage 'or' can correspond with the logical or, but sometimes with the logical 'xor'.
The latter usage is not uncommon.
For example 'Do you prefer oranges or apples?'

It's context dependent. If the context implies "either.. or" then it is xor. If the context implies "if a or if b", then it is not exclusive. Langauge is not consistently logical. There can be many exceptions, and it can depend on regional influences.

Correction: "either.. or" is not always xor. It is xor only if "but not both" is implied. But I guess that makes my point.

Added: If you like this subject, you should listen to NPR "A Way with Words". You might send them this question.

Last edited:
TheDemx27

## 1. What is the difference between XOR and OR logic?

XOR (exclusive OR) and OR (inclusive OR) are both logical operators used in computer science and mathematics. The main difference is that XOR returns a true value only when one of the inputs is true, while OR returns a true value if at least one input is true.

## 2. How is XOR logic used in everyday life?

XOR logic is commonly used in everyday life in situations where we want to make a choice between two options. For example, when deciding whether to take an umbrella with us or not, we can use XOR logic to determine that if it is sunny, we will not take the umbrella, but if it is raining, we will take it.

## 3. Can you give an example of XOR logic in computer programming?

Sure, XOR logic is often used in programming when dealing with boolean values. For instance, in a game, we can use XOR logic to determine if a player has collected all the necessary items; if they have collected one item but not the other, the XOR operation will return true.

## 4. How is OR logic used in decision-making?

OR logic is used in decision-making to present multiple options and allow for at least one of them to be chosen. This is especially useful when dealing with complex decisions that require evaluating multiple factors.

## 5. Are there any other types of logic besides XOR and OR?

Yes, there are many other types of logic, such as AND, NOT, and NAND. These logical operators have different uses and can be combined to create more complex logical statements. They are used in various fields, including computer science, mathematics, and philosophy.

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