Course Syllabus
Summer Quarter 2011

Philosophy 106

Introduction to Logic

Course Description:             Logic is the formal study of what counts as appropriate (i.e. “good”) reasoning. Most of us have some (modest) natural abilities at recognizing good reasoning from bad reasoning, but we are also (most of us) aware that sometimes these intuitions are quite fallible – especially depending on the topic reasoned about! Logic began with the observation that there were patterns as to what counted as good arguments and what counted as bad ones –  patterns of reasoning that reliably took us from some set of claims known to be true (“premises”) to other claims that are true (“conclusions”). When premises are advanced to support a conclusion we call it an “argument” and thus, since logic studies the relations of inference between premises and conclusions, logic also helps us put together good arguments. The branch of logic that will be mostly occupying us in this class is Deductive Logic. This area of logic is concerned with one particular aspect of good argumentation: validity. There are many other things important to a good argument and to participation in argumentative activities other than validity, but awareness of the patterns of deductive validity is by no means optional if one is to reason and argue well!

Instructor:                  Tim Linnemann

206-919-6934

Text:                           A Concise Introduction to Logic, Patrick Hurley 10th Ed.

Objectives & Outcomes: This class is a skills class that aims primarily at training you to be comfortable and competent in using logical tools to analyze and understand arguments and to form your own. In the process of familiarizing yourself with these tools, you should also come to a deeper understanding of the process of argumentation itself – recognizing in greater detail the underlying structure of the arguments that bombard us every day and being able to respect and evaluate the various elements that can make those arguments strong or weak. By the end of this class you should be competent in translating ordinary arguments into formalized symbolic languages (Propositional Logic and Predicate Logic), testing arguments for validity, and performing derivations and proofs. These are the kinds of skills being explicitly taught, but it is also hopeful that you will have gained a new perspective on the rational dimension of the world and our efforts both at understanding it for ourselves and in collaboratively communicating about it with each other. Again, while it is certainly not the only crucial ingredient for such abilities, an appreciation for logic will assist you in the strengthening of your own reasoning capacities and also in your communication skills.

This class is already difficult, but if you fall behind in the work it can easily prove impossible. Do not let this happen! This class is designed to provide as much of a structure of support as is possible, but without your sincere participation and effort such strategies will amount to little. Above and beyond the formal parameters of this class, I am always willing to assist you if you are having trouble staying afloat and will make whatever time I have available to help you outside of class. But even this measure will not do any good if you haven’t been doing the work and are not aware of where you still are having trouble or that you are even having trouble at all!

Quizes                                     20%

Tests (3)                                  60% (20% apiece)

Homework:  Every week there will be assigned homework from the textbook. I will not be hand grading every problem you work through. Instead I will walk around the room and check quickly to see if you did the homework at all. This means that you could, instead of actually doing the homework, just BS the whole thing and you would still get full credit. If this is what you choose to do, I can almost ensure you that this will reflect on your quizzes and tests.  Getting practice at using the techniques taught in this course for yourself is crucial to actually acquiring them, and the amount of points I’m giving for the homework will not be able to make up for the lost points on the quizzes and tests. It isn’t enough to be familiar with these techniques – you must also be able to apply them with intelligence and understanding. I will stop my preaching with the following (rhetorical) question: Why waste the time faking the homework when you could spend just a little more time and save yourself a ton of pain and anxiety down the road?

Quizzes: Twice a week (except blocks with tests scheduled) I will be giving out an in-class quiz to test your abilities with the concepts and methods assigned for the previous block. The questions on the quizzes will be directly relevant to the questions you will see on the three major tests in this class. Thus, they will be an excellent resource to you in order to see where you are still having trouble and where you are doing fine going into these big tests. In addition to this continuity, the questions on the quizzes will be exactly comparable to the questions you will have in the homework assignments, so the homework will give you perfect preparation to do well on the quizzes.

Informal Review Sessions: I will be striving to make myself available outside of class for extra review as much as is reasonably possible. Logic is a tricky subject since it is my experience that while one student finds a particular subject impossible to understand, another finds it to be the simplest concept in the universe…and the next week those same student’s experiences are reversed! You will probably have your impossible concepts and your easy concepts this quarter. When you hit the hard ones and need more time and assistance, that’s where the review sessions come in. When my students are committed to sincerely pursuing the understandings this class aims at, I am happy to throw all the more energy and time to help! Let me know what I can do for you! We will be arranging a regular schedule for this, but if this schedule does fit with yours, I am also more than happy to set up appointments. I consider myself not the gatekeeper of knowledge but a servant!

Tests: This is the scary part. During the quarter we will have 3 in-class tests. The first will cover the basic concepts and tools of symbolic logic. The second will concern Propositional Logic, and the third, Predicate Logic. As mentioned, these tests will have problems taken from the quizzes with a few of the harder more advanced problems that will be represented in the homework. These won’t be a walk in the park, and you will need to prepare for them. The homework, quizzes, and informal review sessions should help you in this, but it is up to you to be responsible about where you are with the material and to get more help if you need it ahead of time. A very substantial portion of your final grade comes from these tests and while I don’t want to scare you…you should be at least a little scared! (at least…respectful…)

Topics

 1a Introduction to the Course 1b Basic Concepts Argument Anatomy, Propositions, Standard Form, Validity, Soundness, Deduction/Induction 2a Translation & the Logical Operators; Truth-Tables 2b Checking for Validity, Valid/Invalid Argument Forms 3a First Exam 3b Propositional Logic Rules of Implication 4a Rules of Replacement I 4b Rules of Replacement II 5a Conditional Proof/Indirect Proof 5b Second Exam 6a Predicate Logic Symbols & Translations, Quantification, 6b Rules of Generalization and Instantiation 7a Change of Quantifier, Conditional Proof/Indirect Proof revisited 7b Third Exam