PHIL 155.001 – Introduction to Mathematical Logic

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Instructor: Keith Simmons. This course meets MW 12:00 to 12:50 p.m. in CP 211, with a recitation on Fridays.

Philosophy 155 is an introduction to symbolic logic.  The ability to reason and argue is essential to rational creatures such as ourselves.  But how can we determine whether an argument is a good one?  Logic is centrally concerned with arguments, good and bad.  If an argument is a good one, its conclusion will logically follow from its premises – and we say that the argument is valid.  We will develop formal techniques that will help us to determine in a rigorous way whether or not an argument is valid.  In order to develop these techniques, we will develop special formal languages, and we’ll learn how to translate between English and these formal languages.

We will study two systems of logic – we will begin with sentential logic, and then move on to a richer system of logic, quantificational logic.  If time permits, we will also look at some further topics (for example, the logical paradoxes, the completeness and incompleteness of logical systems, and modal logic).