Professor: James Woodbridge
Course Webpage: http://faculty.unlv.edu/jwood/unlv/Phil114S14.htm
Office Hours: T 4pm-5pm, W 12:30pm-2pm, and by appointment
Office: CDC 426
Office Phone: 895-4051
Dept. Phone: 895-3433
This course aims to introduce students to the basic concepts and achievements of modern formal, or symbolic, logic. Symbolic logic is the application of formal, mathematical methods in the study of reasoning. The type of reasoning under consideration is specifically deductive (as opposed to inductive) reasoning. Deductive reasoning gives rise to a rich, abstract theoretical structure that is both of intrinsic interest and practical importance. Identifying general inferential moves that are guaranteed to have true outputs provided they have true inputs improves one's ability to reason effectively about real-world matters, and helps one discover when a line of reasoning is not effective. Beyond its central role as a tool in philosophical inquiry, deductive logic is also important in the foundations of mathematics and computer science, and in linguistics, psychology, and artificial intelligence. The material covered in this course will include such topics as the nature and general features of deductive arguments, argument validity and soundness, symbolization, truth-functional logical (Boolean) connectives, quantifiers, checking argument validity using truth-tables, giving counterexamples, and constructing formal deductive proofs. Throughout, the main focus of our inquiry is the nature of the relation of logical consequence or "following from". To this end we will examine logical consequence and nonconsequence in an artificial formal language (the language of first-order logic, or FOL) that captures certain formal aspects of our talk and thought in a particularly perspicuous way.
Baker-Plummer, D., Barwise, J. and Etchemendy, J. Language, Proof and Logic, (Second Edition). Stanford: CSLI Publications, 2011.
The book and software for the course is available at The
III. CLASS REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING SCHEMERequirements .............................................Percent of Final Grade
Participation—This requirement is designed to take into account contributions during class (e.g., asking questions, suggesting moves for proofs done in class, etc.) and improvement throughout the term.
Homework—This requirement covers completion of and performance on the homework assignments. The homework serves to provide practice with the techniques presented in class, so it is crucial that you keep up with the assignments. These assignments will mostly be done on the computer through the software that comes with the book; it will then be graded via submission to an on-line grading program. No late assignments will be accepted.
The First Test—There will be a timed, in-class, pen-and-paper (i.e., not on a computer) test in late February. The test questions will include problems like those on the homework assignments (but here written out by hand), as well as questions concerning definitions and concepts we have covered.
The Second Test—There will be a second timed, in-class, pen-and-paper test in late March or early April. Again, the test questions will include problems like those on the homework assignments, as well as questions concerning definitions and concepts we have covered.
The Final Exam—There will be a timed, in-class, pen-and-paper final exam given Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 3:10pm. Because of the nature of the course material, the final will essentially be cumulative, but it will emphasize the material from the latter half of the course. Again, the exam questions will include problems similar to those from the homework as well as some pertaining to definitions and concepts.Note: All requirements must be satisfactorily completed in order to pass the course.
The class will consist mostly of lectures, demonstrations of
problem-solving techniques, and sample exercises. However, I want to
encourage student participation throughout the class--both in the form
of questions and suggestions about how to approach problems we are
considering. Class meetings will typically consist of two different
(not necessarily equal) parts: one in which I will lecture on the
material you have read about for the day and work some sample problems,
and one in which I will answer questions about problems from homework
assignments that students would like to go over.
V. CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE
In recent years it has become necessary to make a further comment about classroom etiquette. Engaging in activities like text messaging, surfing the web, checking Facebook, tweeting, IMing, etc. during class is entirely inappropriate. In fact, it is extremely rude and highly disrespectful of our joint enterprise of teaching and learning. Whether you are sitting in the back and presume you are not interfering with anyone else is irrelevant. It is not a question of what you are caught doing; it is a matter of what you do, noticed or not. I expect everyone to behave appropriately during class, engaging with our cooperative project and refraining from inappropriate activities at all times.
Almost all of the readings and homework assignments will be from the textbook, Language, Proof and Logic,
by Baker-Plummer, Barwise and Etchemendy. The reading assignments will be listed on the course webpage by chapter and section number, along with page
numbers (in parentheses). Homework assignments will be listed by their
numbers. There will also be some additional material distributed on
handouts through the course webpage.
The general topics covered in the course (and their likely order of presentation) are as follows:
- The Nature and Logic of Atomic Sentences (Chapters 1 and 2)
- The Nature and Logic of Boolean Connectives (Chapters 3 and 4)
- Translations between English and FOL (Chapter 3)
- Testing Argument Validity: Truth-Tables (Chapter 4)
- The Nature and Logic of Conditionals (Chapter 7)
- Proofs in Boolean Logic (Chapters 5, 6 and 8)
- The Nature and Logic of Quantifiers (Chapters 9 and 10)
- Multiple and Mixed Quantifiers (Chapter 11)
- Proofs in Quantificational Logic (Chapters 12 and 13)