Instructor: Emily Given. This course meets Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
This course will be an introduction to symbolic logic. The central question we’ll be concerned with in this course is: what makes some argument a good argument? In many disciplines and in everyday life, we construct and evaluate all sorts of arguments for all sorts of claims. We will focus on a particular good-making feature of certain arguments, namely their validity. Valid arguments are ones whose conclusions logically follow from their premises; throughout the course, we’ll discover several valid argument patterns and learn how to prove certain things using those argument patterns. We’ll do this by first learning to speak a formal language, the language of first-order logic, and how to translate between this language and ordinary English. In the first half of the course, we’ll be looking at predicate logic, or the logic of sentences with a simple subject-predicate form; in the second half of the course, we’ll be looking at quantificational logic, or the logic of sentences involving quantifiers. By the end of the course, students will be able to speak our formal language, and evaluate arguments in that language for validity.
Emily Given’s webpage