Suppose that, as I walked to my office, the following occurred to me: "I need to pick my daughter up at school by 3:30pm...Oh, I should make my slides available on the course website." This transition of thought involves two statements:
- I need to pick my daughter up at school by 3:30pm.
- I should make my slides available on the course website.
The connecting word "Oh" suggests that thinking the first statement somehow triggered thinking the second statement. While there is nothing obviously wrong with this transition of thought, the first statement doesn't seem to provide any reason or justification for the second statement. Contrast the above two statements with the following:
- "Ann will either get an A or a B in this class. She won't get a B.
So, she will get an A."
The connecting word "So" suggests that there is a reason to conclude that Ann will get an A from the previous statements. Consider another example:
- "Ann brought her laptop to every class so far this semester.
So, Ann will bring her laptop to the next class."
There is an important difference between the transition from remembering when to pick my daughter up from school to remembering to put slides on the course website and the transition from noting that Ann brought her laptop to all past classes to noting that she will bring it to the next class. One objective of this course is to show how logic and probability can explain this difference.